I don’t know about you, but when I make rice I often season it or cook it in chicken or vegetable stock instead of simply cooking it plain, in water alone. I also don’t usually have too much rice left over at the end of a meal. This is a problem because I like rice pudding and it seems that most recipes call for starting with leftover rice.
There are two types of people in the world: those who like rice pudding and those who don’t. Let me state for the record that if you don’t like rice pudding at all, you have probably never had a decent rice pudding. Blandness is the most common complaint and that is easily resolved by actually flavoring your rice pudding.
Rice pudding is, in its simplest form, a dish of cooked rice, thickened with milk or cream and sweetened with sugar. In more complex forms, it is enriched with egg yolks and studded with fruits and nuts. I think of classic comfort food, something that you might eat when curled up by the fire on a wintery night or have as an indulgent breakfast treat, cold from the refrigerator, at your grandmother’s house. In fact, I can’t remember ever making rice pudding, just eating it. And my grandmother picked it up at the store.
The recipe I used was from Retro Desserts, by Wayne Harley Brachman. I had a few problems with his method. Essentially, you cook the rice in caramel, add milk and bake until thickened. Mr. Brachman says to cook the rice, in the caramel, with the saucepan lid on. Mine bubbled over. Twice. Needless to say, I left the lid off after that. I also decided that baking the pudding was not strictly necessary, not to mention that there would be less cleanup if I added the milk straight to the pan.
All in all, the pudding was delicious. The light brown color came from the brown sugar. If you soak the raisins in run, you’ll get a nice, adult flavor, but it’s not necessary and I think I actually prefer it without. Any type of milk will work in this recipe, but light cream will give you the creamiest, most decadent results.
1/2 cup short grain rice, uncooked
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 1/2 cups water
1 vanilla bean, split
1 1/2 cups light cream (or milk)
1/2 cup raisins or sultanas (soaked in rum for 30 minutes (optional))
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Combine rice, brown sugar, water and vanilla bean in a medium sauce pan. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes. Carefully remove vanilla bean. Scrape out the seeds and stir them into the rice.
Stir in cream and, keeping rice over low heat, bring to a simmer. Remove pudding when it begins to bubble, after 20-30 minutes. Stir in raisins. Transfer pudding to a medium bowl or individual serving dishes, sprinke with cinnamon. Refrigerate until chilled and ready to serve.
dksbookAugust 25, 2005
Nic, what wisdom do you have about using various types of rice? My Gran always used long-grain rice in her pudding, and pretty much simply cooked it in sugar and milk from the git-go. I often do the same (with medium grain rice)for my teenaged son who just hopes for Arroz Con Leche when he gets home from school on a cool autumn day, but I am interested in some wisdom about using different rices in rice pudding. And waht do you think about cooking the cinnamon in it, as opposed to stirring it in after cooking?
Also, your recipe looks intriguing – I printed it for use in a month or so for one of those after-school treats.
And – today I bake oatmeal biscotti for a teacher and I am adding some white chocolate chips and walnuts. Stay tuned for a report.
NicAugust 25, 2005
dskbook – You can certainly use medium grained rice inthis recipe. I happen to like short grained. Usually shorter grains will cive you a creamier pudding. The liquid amounts may also have to be adjusted if you decide to use long grained rice. And you can definately stir in the cinnamon or any other spice you’d like. I didin’t stir it in this time, as the recipe directed, and found that the aroma spread throughout the pudding as it chilled.
NikiAugust 25, 2005
I’m afraid I’m one of those who doesn’t like rice pudding, and I’ve really tried. I’ve tasted some that were apparently excellent, but still screwed up my nose after a spoonful, much to my boyfriend’s disgust; it’s his favourite comfort food. I’m just not a big ran of rice anyway, and milky tasting rice that has been sweetened sets of alarm bells in my head going ‘WRONG! WRONG! THIS IS WRONG!’. Weird, I know.
EliseAugust 25, 2005
I love rice pudding; when I have leftover rice (usually from Chinese takeout), I just add in some skim milk, coconut, cinnamon, and whatever else is laying around, put a piece of plastic wrap on the bowl, and microwave it to steam it. Mmm… I can’t wait to try your recipe though. Did you start with uncooked rice?
SamanthaAugust 25, 2005
Nic, looks yummy! And I love Wayne… we met him at a NY food show a few years ago, he was so nice and we chatted for awhile about desserts and places to get good hot dogs in CT!
Oh, and I made your oatmeal biscotti the other day, no pictures on my site yet. Great recipe, I added sour cherries and walnuts. I think I’d like to up the oatmeal flavor, next batch I might substitute some oat flour for the ap flour.
Hope you are well!
RaineyAugust 25, 2005
I am just crazy about old-fashioned “comfort” desserts like rice pudding and bread pudding.
Arborio rice makes excellent rice pudding. Just cook it the same way you would for risotto using a dessert wine and milk and adding whatever accents like dried fruit or coconut.
If you decide to try a bread pudding next I have a couple bread recipes that move it up to the dimensions of celestial.
StephanieAugust 25, 2005
We have a similar problem when making risotto balls…the recips always call for left-over risotto. Matt and I look at each other, and laugh. Left-over risotto? As if!
Gia-GinaAugust 25, 2005
I love black Forbidden rice cooked with a tiny bit of sugar and coconut milk. It’s glorious.
NicAugust 25, 2005
Niki – I won’t judge you, don’t worry. There are a few things that I don’t like no matter how well they’re prepared. But I know so many people who miss out because they refuse to try something a second time. It’s a shame!
Elise – Ah! Leftover takeout rice is a good starting point! I did us uncooked rice here, though.
Samantha – I’m so jealous! He seems like a great guy. And I heard he was self taught…. Let me know if the oat flour variation works out. It certainly sounds promising.
Rainey – I used arborio rice for this pudding, but I am keen to try making risotto rice pudding. I generally only make bread pudding when I have a special occasion(mother’s day, since my mother loves it, for example). I’d love to hear the bread recipes, though. I usually just use challah!
Stephanie – Oh, I know the feeling. I wonder how rice pudding balls would be…
Gia-gina – I love coconut milk in puddings. yum!
AnonymousAugust 25, 2005
For some reason I don’t like rice puddings but I love my mom’s Swedish grut. It is a slow cooked risotto- type hot breakfast that is cooked with rice, milk, and cinnamon. We top it with butter and cinamon sugar and it always reminds me of Christmas morning.
I may have to make some now!
RaineyAugust 25, 2005
This bread makes excellent bread pudding with just a simple custard soaked into it. It also makes a very beautiful loaf all by itself.
The other one I really like is a pumpkin flavored bread but I have to dig it up and transfer it to a database I can share from. I’ll post it to you in a couple days.
â€¢ 3 cup bread flour
â€¢ Â¼ cup sugar
â€¢ 2 envelope quick-rising yeast
â€¢ 1 Â½ teaspoon salt
â€¢ Â½ cup buttermilk
â€¢ 2 large eggs, beaten
â€¢ 2 tablespoon sweet butter , melted and still warm
â€¢ 1 Â½ teaspoon orange oil
â€¢ â…“ cup hot water
â€¢ 1 cup dried cranberries
â€¢ Â½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
â€¢ Â½ to â…“ cup white chocolate chips (my addition)
Put all ingredients except fruit, nuts and chips into bread machine. Reserving a little of the egg for a glaze. Process on “Dough” cycle.
Remove finished dough and knead in remaining ingredients.
To shape divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll three pieces into ropes and braid on peel dusted with coase corn meal. Tuck any of the berries, nuts or chips that fall out back in and then tuck ends of braid under.
Take reserved egg. Thin with a little milk if necessary. Brush over first braid layer. Top with a damp tea towel.
Take remaining piece of dough. Divide into three equal pieces. Roll into ropes and braid as above. Tuck any fruit into bottom braid. Tuck ends of shorter braid under and gently lift and place on larger braid. Brush with egg glaze.
Let rise uncovered in a warm area until almost doubled in volume; about an hour and 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Brush risen loaf with remaining egg glaze. Bake until loaf is deep golden brown and sounds hollow when rapped on bottom; about 45 minutes. Transfer loaf to a rack and cool at least 45 minues before slicing.
This loaf and be prepared ahead and frozen up to 2 weeks if tightly wrapped.
Source: Bon Appetit, November 1999
PS Although the recipe calls for “quick rising” yeast I always rise my bread as slowly as possible but that’s the way Bon Appetit gave the recipe. I, however, modified the instructions to do the dough in my bread machine.
JoeAugust 25, 2005
I have a couple rice pudding recipes laying around waiting to be tried but I don’t know if I would like it. Just never tried it and never thought of rice being in the sweet category. I will have to try it!
NicAugust 25, 2005
Brady – Interesting. It sounds like they are very similar recipes, but I’ve never heard of it before.
Rainey – Thanks! It sounds like a great bread. Even if I don’t get around to the pudding, I’ll have to try it soon.
Joe – You’ll never know until you try!
AugustusGloopAugust 25, 2005
Mmm… you can’t beat a good rice pud for comfort food. Unfortunately it’s often done badly and, as you say, watery/flavourless and/or with only half-cooked rice grains. Eww! Yours looks wonderful though. I love the sound of the caramel in it too… mmm…
MargiAugust 26, 2005
mmm, I love rice pudding. Though, I like the custurd a bit more stiff. Does that make sense? I bake it in the oven. I think the recipe I use the most is from a cookbook called “The Art of Jewish Cooking” by Jennie Grossinger. Her recipe is baked.
I also love bread pudding.
Have you ever heard rice pudding, bread pudding and deserts of that like called “nursery deserts” I thought it was kind of odd.
I’m a new reader..but love what I’ve read so far. I’m sure I’ll love what I read in the future too.
AnaAugust 26, 2005
Nic, I’m a great lover of rice pudding. I make mine the way my mother used to make, with uncooked rice and cooked first in a little water and then milk, which we keep adding to the rice. It is flavoured with lemon peel and the we add sugar and egg yolks, and tons of cinnamon on top. I use arborio rice.
I’ll give a try to yours. It sounds so different.
dksbookAugust 26, 2005
Nursery desserts! I grew up on these! Stuff like rice pudding, tapioca pudding, blanc mange, mildly flavored bread puddings, and sponge cake. I think early in the previous century it was thought that children’s stomachs could not handle highly seasoned or rich food, but I really think it is because babies and toddlers respond to “sweet” so positively when they are young, and stronger flavors so tentatively when they are young. When I was little, my Britsh Gran trained my mom to feed me dinner in the late afternoon before the adults ate, and I ate different food – food like steamed chicken, plain, unbuttered veggies, boiled potatoes, and a nursery dessert, like rice pudding with maybe raisins, but little or no cinnamon. It is a miracle my palate grew up, really.
TAugust 26, 2005
Hey Nic! Your rice pudding looks delicious- it reminds me of the caramel rice pudding I did a while ago for SHF, but your method is a lot quicker than mine, because I went the dulce de leche route (ie cooking the condensed milk for hours!)
RaineyAugust 26, 2005
I pushed ahead in my process of transferring recipes to get that pumpkin bread recipe for you but then found out it was a King Arthur recipe so here is the link: Ginger Pumpkin Braid and bread pudding
Here’s another bread from Rustic European Breads from Your Bread Machine that’s an excellent candidate:
Pane Alla Cioccolata
â€¢ 1 Â¼ teaspoon bread machine yeast
â€¢ 2 Â¼ cup hard wheat flour
â€¢ Â¼ cup sugar
â€¢ 3 tablespoon Dutch process black or natural cocoa, unsweetened
â€¢ Â¾ teaspoon salt
â€¢ Â¾ cup + 1 tbs. water
â€¢ 1 large egg yolks
â€¢ 1 Â½ teaspoon sweet butter
â€¢ Â½ cup semisweet chocolate chips, highest quality
Combine all the ingredients in the bread machine pan and process on the regular bake or the light crust cycle.
To make a hand-formed loaf:
Preheat the oven and stone to 450 degrees. Process all ingredients on dough cycle and form a boule by hand. Transfer to stone, steam oven cavity liberally during the first 5 minutes, and reduce heat to 400 degrees. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
Makes a 1 pound loaf.
NicAugust 26, 2005
Augustusgloop – This one isn’t watery or lacking in flavor. Sometimes the puddings will separate a bit in the fridge, but a quick stir always solves that problem.
margi – I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog! I can see more of a clafoutis type rice pudding. Something more custardy that you can slice instead of scooping.
ana – Yours sounds richer, and I know your mom made some great dishes. =)
dksbook – I wonder the same thing! I know some people never move beyond those first foods, though….
tanvi – Mmm.. dulce de leche…
raniey – Thanks again, rainey. I LOVE pumpkin. I can’t wait to try this one!
squirrellaOctober 27, 2005
I tried an easy rice pudding version tonight that was nice. I had no eggs or milk so I had to improvise a bit. I used most of a can of fat free whipped topping, some butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, almond extract, a wee bit of ginger and a little water. Then I resteamed the rice in the microwave w/plastic wrap on top, as it was really old, really dry chinese takeout rice. 🙂
NicOctober 28, 2005
Julie – I guess I’m a bit suprised that the canned whipped topping worked out – but I’ll definately remember it as a fallback trick!