In my quest to both get better at making cream pies and to enjoy eating them I challenged myself to come up with some flavors I enjoy in general. It’s the best kind of inspiration. Then you can fiddle around until the cream filling that embodies the flavor you’re looking for emerges. So I thought to myself, I like horchata. It has tons of rice starch in it. Let’s see if it will thicken if I cook it. Guess what? It did! Of course I played with it a little. Horchata is water-based even if there is some milk in it. The rice soaks in water with the cinnamon overnight. Simply add sugar and puree for the simplest and most common horchata drink. My horchata is milk based and yet to have the right consistency for pie I added a couple of egg yolks and some half and half.
You can use any pie crust from a traditional blind baked butter crust to a cookie crust make from graham crackers or chocolate wafer cookies. I made a rolled crust from a graham cracker recipe. But that’s for another day.
1 baked pie crust of your choice
1/4 cup risotto or paella rice
1 cup half and half
3 cups Horchata (be sure to shake it well before you measure it out)2 egg yolks
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups whipping cream for topping
Ground Cinnamon for garnish
Cook the rice in the half and half with the pinch of salt. Watch that it doesn’t burn. When the rice is tender set the pan aside. The mixture will be soupy. That’s ok.
Put the horchata and egg yolks in a blender. Blend to mix.
Pour the blended horchata-egg mixture into the rice mixture and heat over medium flame until it all comes to a boil. As it heats use a silicone spatula to sweep the bottom so the mixture doesn’t burn and to keep the faster thickening bottom part of the mixture well mixed into the rest. At a certain point things will start to move quickly. Switch from the spatula to a whisk as the mixture thickens. Allow it to cook at a low boil for at least one to two minutes to get the raw starchy taste tempered down. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter.
At this point you can let the mixture cool down a bit or pour it directly into your crust which is what I prefer to do. Lay a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the filling so that a skin doesn’t form Refrigerate the pie.
Before serving, beat the unsweetened cream to top the pie. Top the pie making swoops and swirls then carefully sift on a bit of ground cinnamon. The pie will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days (if it lasts that long).