Archive for: rice pudding
Rice pudding is a dish that is typically served quite plain. If anything, it is usually flavored with a vanilla and topped with a little bit of cinnamon. It rarely gets dressed up. This is because rice pudding is known as comfort food, the kind of dish that you enjoy on a quiet night by yourself at home, rather than the kind of dish that you serve to guests. Like vanilla ice cream, however, a good rice pudding can be a blank canvas that you can put all kinds of flavors on. This Cherry Pie Rice Pudding is just one example of how to dress up a simple rice pudding and turn it int a company-worthy dessert that is still comfort food.
Cherry Pie Rice Pudding starts with a little bit of homemade cherry pie filling, made on the stovetop. The filling is divided into dessert cups and then vanilla rice pudding is layered on top of it. The cherries and vanilla blend well together, and it can be served warm or cold, depending on your preferences (and how patient you are before digging in!). It’s an easy dessert to make, but because of the dramatic color contrast, it is always impressive when it is served.
This rice pudding starts out with rice that has already been cooked or steamed. You can use plain, leftover rice from Chinese takeout (I always make rice pudding with leftover takeout rice!) or boil some yourself in water. Either way, let it cool down before using it. I typically use frozen or jarred cherries – I prefer sweet, black cherries when I have a choice – for the cherry portion of this dessert, as they have a great flavor. Frozen cherries do not need to be defrosted, and jarred cherries only need to be drained before using.
Pie wouldn’t be pie without a little bit of pie crust. I didn’t want to make a whole pie crust just to garnish my pudding, though. Instead, I garnished each dessert with a piece of graham cracker. The cracker lends a little bit of crunch and definitely evokes a graham cracker crust here. Plus, it gives each cup a very nice finished look.
Rice pudding is one of my favorite comfort food dishes. I almost always save leftover steamed rice, whether it is homemade or came from leftover Chinese takeout, so I know that I can whip up a batch when the mood strikes me. I usually make my rice pudding with vanilla and simply let the flavor of the milk shine through in the finished pudding, but if I’m looking for something even more indulgent, I bring some Nutella into the picture.
This Nutella rice pudding is made simply be stirring some Nutella into a batch of what would otherwise be plain rice pudding. The rich chocolate hazelnut spread adds a tremendous amount of flavor, leaving you with a very decadent dessert. To enhance the color of the pudding, as well as highlight the less-sweet chocolate notes of the Nutella, I added a small amount of cocoa powder into my rice pudding mixture. The thickness of your finished pudding will be influenced by the type of rice you use and I would recommend using a starchier, shorter-grain rice for the best results, but just about any rice will do the trick when the craving hits.
Now, I have to admit that I don’t find chocolate rice puddings to be quite as attractive as vanilla puddings, but a little bit of whipped cream – regular or Nutella flavored for any big Nutella fans out there – solves the problem nicely and dresses up the dessert. I used Nutella whipped cream on this batch, but even plain, unsweetened whipped cream can add a nice bit of contrast to a finished dessert in this case.
Rice pudding is not a particularly sweet dessert to begin with, as it focuses primarily on the rice and milk that make up its bulk. But sweetness is what makes it dessert instead of a pleasant side dish, so sugar is really a key ingredient. I typically use regular sugar for my rice pudding. I have dressed it up before with a little drizzle of maple syrup before serving, too. This version uses agave syrup – a sweetener that is known for its low glycemic index – as a sweetener. The low glycemic index means that agave does not cause as large of a spike on blood sugar levels as some other sugars do, making it a better choice for diabetics and those who simply need to keep an eye on their blood sugar.
This rice pudding starts out with leftover white rice, agave syrup and milk. I always like rice pudding that uses leftover rice because it gives me a good use for that extra container of steamed rice I have after I get Chinese food for dinner. If you don’t have leftover rice, you can simply boil some in water first, drain it, and use that. The agave makes the pudding subtly sweet, and the vanilla still stands out in the pudding when served. If you like your rice pudding sweeter, you can top this with a drizzle of agave or simply add some extra syrup to the pudding when you’re making it.
I make this version of rice pudding for older relatives of mine instead of making cakes or cookies. It’s comfort food, food that they ate when they were kids, and this makes the familiar flavors of the dish a little bit healthier.
Eggnog is widely available in stores through New Years, but sales and consumption probably peak right around Christmas Eve. I know I don’t drink much after Christmas is over. I do often have leftovers, though, and never turn down the chance to use them up in a tasty holiday-ish recipe. My leftover eggnog this year went into a batch of eggnog rice pudding.
The rice pudding recipe is a simple one, starting with leftover rice. Steamed and boiled rice both work equally well here, but make sure that your rice was only cooked in water (as opposed to chicken broth) to ensure that it has a neutral flavor. I used a combination of regular milk and eggnog to get a light, but flavorful dessert. An eggnog-only rice pudding will be quite heavy, especially if you’re using a full fat eggnog (low fat works very well for this recipe, as do soy/nondairy ‘nogs). The pudding thickens a bit after it cools, so I always stir in an extra tablespoon or so of eggnog just before serving to help ensure that the pudding has a good eggnog flavor and a very creamy consistency.
Garnish the puddings with some freshly grated nutmeg and whipped cream.
I think that vanilla rice pudding will always be my favorite. Not only is there something very comforting about it, but the plainness of the rice and milk pudding is a great canvas for vanilla to really stand out. That said, there experimenting with new flavors is still a fun thing to do because it both gives you more options (when you have a success) and makes you appreciate the flavors you already enjoy (when you have a failure). I was inspired to put a new twist on my usual rice pudding recipe after using some vanilla rice milk in place of coffee creamer at a friend’s house. That combination was good, and while it didn’t taste like rice pudding itself, it was enough to get the wheels turning.
I prefer to start rice pudding with leftover rice that has already been steamed or boiled in water. I think that since the rice has been cooked through, it tends to have a softer texture in the finished pudding, which I quite like. The pudding also takes less time to make when it is started this way, not to mention that having a cup or two of rice in the fridge is a good excuse to make a batch of pudding.
I basically made vanilla rice pudding, then divided the batch to flavor it further. I used instant espresso powder, but any instant coffee will work. Instant coffee blends easily into the hot pudding and it is very easy to control the strength of the coffee flavor by using it. I also added a bit of cinnamon to the coffee, leaving the vanilla plain. I layered the two flavors of pudding into serving glasses (coffee mugs, in this case) and chilled them so they could set. In the end, the desserts came out tasting like cappuccinos, with a mellow coffee flavor and a hint of cinnamon. The vanilla pudding tasted sweeter than the coffee, so everything had a good balance to it, although you could make the whole batch coffee flavored, if you’re so inclined.