I LOVE rice pudding. It was a big treat for us growing up in a household where desserts were a rarity. And it was a dessert that, like apple crumble, was totally legal for BREAKFAST too! My grandmother made it. My mother made it. I’ve made it too.
I’ve been hankering for it recently, and I realized I haven’t made it in almost a decade. BECAUSE THE PIE *HATES* RICE PUDDING. So in all the years we’ve been together I’ve only made it once.
Well that’s about to change. If he doesn’t like it, then it means I can have the whole thing to myself for breakfasts and desserts for, like, a WEEK.
Now there’s kind of two schools about rice pudding – there’s the totally squishy school of puddings, where the rice pudding actually is more pudding like – and then there’s the baked pudding school, where it’s more like a casserole with custardy bits surrounded by crunchy. I’m kind of somewhere in the middle, but on this one I’m going to go with the more creamy stove-top version. I also like mine with raisins and orange zest and cardamom and lots of cinnamon so if you don’t, well – just leave them out. But I’m going to judge you for that. I won’t judge you for replacing dairy with coconut milk – that stuff goes well with everything.
The type of rice you use can determine how creamy your pudding will turn out, and as traditionally this dish likely emerged from leftovers, take a look at what you’ve got stored in your fridge. If you use arborio rice, for example, your pudding will be very much like risotto (because that’s what arborio rice is for). Short or medium grain rices will also make for more creamy puddings. And then the spices you use all depend on which grandma’s recipe you’re using, and where that grandma is from. So this is *my* version, that I came up with after some experimentation. It’s not quite my mother’s. It’s not quite my grandmother’s. It’s all mine. I’ll be the grandma some day with this recipe.
Before you start, measure out 2 cups milk or cream and crack open a 400mL can of coconut milk (or use any combination thereof).
Beat up 1 egg and put that in a dish. Actually, scratch that. Put an egg in a dish. THEN beat it. Hard to do it the first way ’round.
Zest as well 2 oranges and put the zest in a dish. Juice the oranges and drink up that glorious vitamin C. You’re gonna need it – winter is coming.
Now, grab 1 cup arborio rice (the risotto stuff).
I plopped it in a large pot with 2 tablespoons butter and let the butter get all melty and bubbly and stuff.
Then I poured in 2 cups water and brought the whole thing to a simmer.
FOR LIKE EVER. Seriously it takes forever to cook risotto. Keep stirring it occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
Getting there …
… almost there …
When you can kind of scoop it to one side and it doesn’t flow back super fast you’re probably ready for the next step.
Now you can pour in the milk and give it a stir. Tip in the egg as well and stir it around before the milk gets hot enough to curdle the egg.
Bring it to a simmer and let the mixture begin to thicken, which it will do pretty quickly. While that’s happening, I grabbed 1/2 cup raisins and left them to soak in 2 splashes warm water and 1 splash bourbon (optional).
Tip some honey into the pot until it’s sweetened to taste. I used about 1/4 cup honey.
You can add in your orange zest now, as well as 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon cardamom.
Then I chucked in the raisins, bourbon-water and all.
Lower the heat and allow that to simmer, stirring occasionally.
The liquid will begin to disappear.
We are almost there. I dig those totally round air bubble pockets.
When the pudding is at a consistency that you like (i.e., when you stir it the liquid doesn’t form pools) then it’s ready to serve. You can enjoy it hot and liquidy or cold and solid – it’s entirely up to you!