This recipe belongs to the chef Tom Harris (he of One Leicester Street) and features in this month’s Waitrose magazine. It was one of those love-at-first-sight numbers; I knew it was going to be a winner.
Barley malt extract isn’t an ingredient I’ve worked with before but it gives a deliciously nostalgic character to the pud, reminiscent of hot steaming mugs of Ovaltine and inhaled bags of Maltesers. Plus, you can find barley malt extract in health food shops and it’s vitamin-heavy so let’s just, from now on, refer to this pudding a Superfood, ok? Great stuff.
I failed to read Harris’ original recipe all the way through so didn’t see the raisins need to be soaked overnight, hence their absence in the photos. I’ve included them in the instructions below but, honestly, the creamy yeasty risotto-esque bowl of comfort is a stand alone sensation that works equally well hot or cold - boozy raisins or no.
100g pearl barley
80g demerara sugar
40g barley malt extract
600ml whole milk
1/4 nutmeg, freshly grated
1 vanilla pod, split
1 pinch salt
100g raisins, soaked overnight in hot tea
2 tbsp malt whisky
Put your pearl barley in a medium sized pan and toast over a the hob. Shake the pan from time to time to prevent the barley burning. You’re looking to get the barley to a lightly golden shade (this should take around 5 minutes if using a heavy bottomed pan - as I was - probably less if using a frying pan; mine started to give off a light aromatic smoke when it was ready).
Pour over over the water, bring to a low boil and simmer for 15 minutes, by which point it will have absorbed just under half of the liquid. Drain the barley
In a heavy bottomed pan (I quickly rinsed and dried my toasting pan), melt your butter, sugar and malt extract
Heat until you’ve got a golden caramel, comme ca (this only took a few minutes)
Add the drained barley back into the pan and stir well before pouring over the milk and adding the nutmeg, vanilla (seeds scraped out and added to the mix) and salt
Simmer gently, stirring every so often, until you have a thick creamy pan of rice pudding-esque beauty (something short of an hour)
If serving with the raisins, tip them into a sieve to drain away the tea. Warm the raisins through in a small saucepan with the whisky and dollop on top of the pudding when it comes to serving