Fırın Sütlaç (Turkish Baked Rice Pudding)
If you like light and creamy desserts, you’ll love this recipe! Sütlaç is similar to rice pudding, but it’s baked in the oven until golden and it's served chilled. This delicious pudding is vegan, gluten-free, and super easy to prepare.
This recipe is another one of my childhood favourites. It brings back memories of the times my father I would go for late night drives around London, and he’d take me to eat Sütlaç at his favourite Turkish restaurant. Sütlaç is one of the more popular Turkish desserts, so you’ll find this pudding in almost all Turkish restaurants, and it’s sometimes sold at Turkish bakeries. Traditionally this pudding is made with whole milk, but I like to use either soya or cashew milk to create a vegan version. Anyone who has tried my vegan version couldn’t even tell the difference, so it's safe to say the vegan version tastes just as creamy and delicious.
What is Sutlac?
Sütlaç is a baked rice pudding made from baldo rice, sugar, cornstarch and milk. It’s first cooked on the stove until thick and creamy, then poured into clay ramekins and baked in the oven until the tops are browned. Sütlaç can be served warm, but it is traditionally served chilled after it’s been left in the fridge for a few hours to set.
Why make Sutlac?
It’s made using a handful of simple store cupboard ingredients
This Sütlaç recipe is dairy-free and gluten-free
Can be made sugar-free with sweeteners
Quick and easy to make
This recipe is not overly sweet, so it’s the perfect Ramadan dessert
Can be prepared it advance
Keeps well in the fridge for several days
Ingredients and Substitutions:
Here’s everything you’ll need to make Sütlaç :
Milk – I’ve used unsweetened soya milk, but any creamy, plant-based milk such as cashew or coconut milk will do. If you want your Sütlaç to be extra rich and creamy, you could even use vegan double cream
Sugar – I’ve used granulated white sugar for this recipe. You could use a sweetener instead; you may have to add more of less sweetener depending on the type you use. I wouldn’t recommend you use fruit syrups or brown sugars as they’ll change the colour and taste of the pudding.
Cornstarch- The cornstarch is used to thicken and set the Sütlaç. If you don’t have any cornstrarch, you can use tapioca starch instead.
Rice – this recipe is traditionally made with baldo rice, which is what I've used. If you can’t find baldo rice, you could use pudding rice or arborio rice instead.
Vanilla extract – the vanilla extract is optional, but I love the delicious flavour it adds to the Sütlaç. You could omit this ingredient, or you could use other flavours such as cinnamon or cardamom. It’s a neutral tasting pudding so you can play about with different flavours.
How to make Sutlac
Rinse the baldo rice with cold water, then add the rice and 120ml water to a medium sized pot. Cook on a low heat for about 15 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed most of the water.
In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with about 2 tbsp of the soya milk, then add this cornstrach mixture to the pot with the cooked rice. Pour in the remaining milk, add the sugar and vanilla extract, and stir.
Let it gently simmer for about 15-20 minutes, on a medium heat, until the mixture thickens slightly (it should resemble of thick custard). Make sure to stir continually to prevent any lumps from forming.
Divide the mixture between 4 oven-proof ramekins. Place the ramekins in a deep oven tray and fill the tray with enough cold water to reach halfway up the side of the ramekins.
Place the tray on the top shelf of your oven. Bake at 180°C (350°F) for about 30 minutes, or until the top of the pudding is deep brown. Take them out of the oven and leave them to cool at room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
How to store Sutlac
Once they’ve chilled completely, cover the tops with a piece of cling film and store them in the fridge. You can store this pudding in the fridge for up to 5 days. I wouldn’t recommend freezing this pudding as it can sometimes thicken the consistency, and it usually tastes a lot better when served fresh.
Notes and Tips
You will find that the Sütlaç will look quite runny after you’ve cooked the mixture in the pot; this is normal and it will set after a few hours in the fridge.
Make sure to stir continually as you’re cooking the Sütlaç to prevent any lumps from forming.
Make sure to use a creamy plant-based milk such as soya, cashew or coconut milk. The main ingredient is this pudding is milk, so to get the best result it's important to use a goad quality, plant-based milk that has a creamy taste.
You can use any kind of short grain rice for this pudding. I wouldn't recommend using long grain rice as the pudding will not be as creamy.