Turkish Rice Flour Pudding
The ideal pot for sutlatch is one designed for making reductions and sauces, heavy gauged and with a specific shape. Two styles are appropriate, each with its own advantages. A saucier is low and wide with a slight bulge around the middle. Its bowl shape both accommodates a whisk and reduces the risk of scorching because there are no corners. A Windsor pan is shaped like an inverted cone with the tip cut off. Wider at the top than at the bottom, it encourages moisture to evaporate very rapidly. I’ve given links to examples (and if you should happen to buy one, you’ll be helping support this blog 🙂 ).
For four servings:
4 heaping tablespoons rice flour
1/3 cup water
1 quart (4 cups) whole fresh milk
¼ cup (4 tablespoons) vanilla sugar
1 teaspoons orange flower water
Optional garnish: edible white flowers, either orange or lemon blossom, or honeysuckle
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, moisten the rice flour with water and let it rest for 5 minutes. Set the pan over a high flame, and stir in the milk and sugar. When the milk begins to simmer, reduce the flame to medium, and continue stirring the pot. The pudding will thicken very, very slowly. As it does, gradually reduce the flame to prevent scorching, which can happen quickly, especially as the moisture content diminishes and you’re left with a higher concentration of sugar. Keep stirring continuously until the pudding is thick and smooth. Take turns with someone if you need a break, but don’t stop stirring, and don’t give up! It may take an hour, and will take even longer the bigger the batch. When you’ve attained a nice, thick consistency, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the orange flower water, adjusting it to suit your taste.
The texture should be quite smooth after such a long time on the stove, but to make it extra smooth you can pour it through a fine mesh sieve and then into individual bowls. Otherwise, pour the sutlatch directly into individual bowls. If you don’t want a skin to form, cover the surface of each pudding with wax paper while they’re still warm. Let cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Garnish before serving. In our tradition from Rhodes, each person is presented a bowl of sutlatch that’s been decorated with their first initial written in cinnamon. It’s a lovely touch that makes everyone at the table feel individually appreciated. They should! It’s not easy to do. The easiest method is as follows:
Choose a piece of stiff paper that’s large enough to rest on the rim of the bowl you’re going to decorate without slipping and falling into it. Cut a stencil of the letter and lay it across the bowl. Put cinnamon to taste in a small sieve, hold it over the stencil, and either shake it gently or press the cinnamon through with the back of a spoon.
Fragrant, edible white flowers – orange or lemon blossom – make a beautiful decoration. At Shavuot, honeysuckle, besides being filled with a delicious, sweet nectar, is a lovely touch referencing the land of milk and honey.