Hélène's Grandmother's Rice Pudding Cake Bathed in Caramel

Recipe for Hélène's Grandmother's Rice Pudding Cake Bathed in Caramel.Yield: 8 servings

For the rice pudding:
2 c. water
¾ c. short-grain or Arborio rice, unrinsed   
4 c. whole milk
½ c. confectioners’ sugar
2 T unsalted butter
2 large whole eggs
1 large egg yolk
½ c. granulated sugar
3 T plus 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tsp. ground cardamom

For the caramel:
1 c. sugar

In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil and add rice, then cook at a lively simmer for 4 minutes. Drain the rice and reserve.

In another saucepan, bring the milk to a boil, watching it carefully until it begins to rise. Turn off the heat and stir in the confectioners’ sugar, rice, and butter. Turn the heat back on, reduce to a simmer, and cook the mixture for 25 to 35 minutes, or until all the milk is absorbed. Stir frequently, so that the rice keeps from sticking and becomes creamy. (You will hear a plopping noise toward the end.)

With an electric mixer, beat together the eggs, egg yolk, granulated sugar, vanilla, and cardamom in a medium bowl until pale and thick. Add to the rice mixture on the stove and stir constantly, until the pudding comes to a simmer. Stir while cooking for 1 minute, then remove from heat.

Make the caramel: Place 1 cup sugar in another saucepan over medium heat and cook without stirring, until it turns liquid and golden brown. (You can swirl the pan to help it along.) Take the caramel off the heat and carefully pour it into a 6-cup soufflé or Pyrex dish, tilting the dish to distribute the caramel evenly on the bottom and sides. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Pour the rice mixture into the caramel-coated dish and cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. To serve, place a plate over the top of the dish and invert it to unmold the rice pudding cake. Allow any caramel sauce left in the baking dish to drip over the cake.