Rice Pudding is classified as a poor man’s food. I cannot remember exactly when I had rice pudding for the first time. It was during the big 80s recession, in a run down rental property my biological mother could barely afford. Bouncing cheques to buy diapers. From what I remember she did not home cook meals often but when she did it was amazing food. What I remember most is the smell. For a preschooler the smell of milk simmering on the stove was better then any take out or BBQ sirloin steak you could throw at me. Simmering milk meant something good was on the way.
Simmering milk was my “old lady perfume” for her. You know the kind that makes you think of your mother or grand mother. Simmering milk was my memory smell of my biological mother.
After I was adopted, I went without rice pudding for several years. My adopted family was a proud working family that strived for ‘nothing but the best’. Rice pudding was “poor mans food” I was reminded during grocery outings. I was also the only one in my family who actually liked to eat it. No point in buying it, if no one else would eat it.
In college. Friday nights would be dinner, TV and snacks. A big tub of Kozy shack rice pudding could be found in the bag – my then boyfriend -now husband – would bring. We would line the coffee table with the snacks, turn on the floor model TV. You know the kind of tv – had scratchy mostly grey reception , lovely oak wooden panelling, and a dial – no remote. We would watch watch the Jeff foxworthy live or Red green on the free global channel. I would laugh and laugh and eat the Whole TUB of rice pudding.
After we got married, and had internet of our own, the world of online recipes opened up to me. I found one that was simmered just like I remember when I was preschooler. The smell was amazing and tastes just as good as kozy shack if not better. Now we sit and watch Jeff Foxworthy or Red green re runs on DVD on our flat screen eating homemade rice pudding. I still laugh despite the fact I have seen it probably 100 times.
I guess that old saying is right – Just like wine – everything gets better with time..
I always double this recipe so no worries if you want to feed a crowd or portion it out for a weeks worth of lunches. I have also included a vegan version so scroll down to see it.
Traditional rice pudding – by Seasons & Suppers
- 4 cups milk,
- 1/2 cup Arborio rice (aka risotto, or Italian short grain rice)
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream, (35% )
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 2 Large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Optional : 1/2 cup raisins
- Rinse a large saucepan with cold water. Don’t dry. Set on stove-top over medium heat. Add milk. Heat milk to boiling, over medium heat, stirring regularly.
- When milk boils, stir in rice and keep stirring until mixture returns to the boil. Reduce heat to a shade higher than low, or whatever level on your stove allows the mixture to gently simmer Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring down the mixture every 10 minutes (Important that you stir it down regularly and ensure that there is no rice sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, use a fork to whisk together the cream, sugar, yolks, vanilla and salt. Set aside on counter while rice is cooking, leaving fork in bowl. Set out a ladle to use, as well. I like to do this after the rice starts cooking, so that the mixture comes to room temperature by the time it’s needed.
- Once milk/rice has simmered for 30 minutes, continue simmering, but stir down every 5 minutes. With each stir, start testing the done-ness of the rice by tasting a piece. You want the rice to be tender (so no hard center). **Depending on your rice, your mixture may start to get thick-ish at this point, with little milky liquid left. If so, add more milk to the pot, just as much as needed to loosen the mixture up, with each stir. Watch closely and don’t let the mixture get dry or it will scorch. Continue cooking, stirring down and adding additional milk, as needed until the rice is tender. Arborio rice is generally done in about 45 minutes of total simmering time.
- Once the rice is cooked, slide saucepan off the heat. Re-whisk your egg mixture with your fork. Using the ladle, spoon out a ladle-full of hot rice/milk mixture, taking as much liquid as possible, but not to worry if you bring some of the rice with it. With the ladle in your one hand and using your other hand to start whisking the egg mixture with the fork, start adding the hot mixture to the eggs A DROP AT A TIME, at first, while continuously whisking with the fork. Increase to a slow stream, while whisking continuously, until the entire ladle-full has been added. Get another ladle-full of hot liquid and slowly add it to the egg mixture as well, whisking continuously. Keep adding hot liquid until you’ve got at least 1 1/2 cups-1 3/4 cups of now warmed liquid in your bowl. Once you have reached that point, pour the warmed egg mixture into your cooking pot.
- Return the saucepan to heat, over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring almost continuously, just until a dime-sized bubble breaks the surface of the pudding. Pudding should be noticeably thickened and saucy, but still more sauce than rice (pudding will set more in the fridge as it cools). If liquid seems almost like milk consistency (rather than heavy cream consistency), it’s too thin. Cook, stirring, a little longer. **Note though that you never want to allow the mixture to vigorously boil after the egg mixture has been added, as you may end up with scrambled eggs.
Vegan Rice pudding – By Twospoons.ca
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 2 tbsp maple syrup , or to taste.
- 3 1/2 cups almond milk , plus more if needed
- Pinch ground cinnamon
- Pinch ground cardamom
- In saucepan combine rice and almond milk Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook stirring often for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked to pudding like consistency. When rice is cooked add maple syrup, and mix to combine. Cool in fridge. Will thicken in fridge a bit as well.
- Scoop rice pudding into bowls and top with nuts, coconut whipped cream and garnish with sprinkle of spices.