1 March, 2009

Three ways of making rice pudding

ricepudding with caramelised pears 2

My latest effort for my Delicious Days cookbook challenge was little pots of rice pudding. I have to say I have never really understood why people eat cold rice pudding. It’s just not as good as the lovely hot, creamy comfort food we ate as children — the best of nursery food. Nicky suggests toppings of strawberries or caramelised apples. I substituted pears for the apples because that was what I had, and seasoned them with nutmeg instead of cinnamon. This sauce was delicious and went really well with the rice — it just would have been better served hot! I think the leftover sauce will also be rather good poured hot over vanilla ice cream …

Anyway this is my excuse to present three ways of cooking traditional rice pudding. In the old days, you had to bake it for 2-3 hours, but with the advent of pressure cookers and microwaves, it’s become almost an “instant pudding”, to be whipped up if you are still feeling hungry after your main course. Here are three ways of cooking it; if you want proper golden skin, you have to use the traditional oven-baked method, but otherwise the others produce excellent results. Note: theoretically you can cook it in the microwave, but in my opinion it doesn’t produce good results and takes as long as cooking it in a pan, so I haven’t included that method here.

We like it hot with either jam (must be red) or maple syrup, or soft brown sugar. But in future I may well try the caramel sauce again. If you’re not watching fat intake, make it with full-cream milk; otherwise semi-skimmed is OK.

Ingredients:
1 pint (0.5 litres) milk, preferably full-fat
2 tbs round-grain rice
nutmeg
2 tbs vanilla or plain sugar, or to taste
vanilla essence (if not using vanilla sugar)
butter

1. Oven baked
Butter an ovenproof dish and pour in the milk. Add the rice, vanilla essence, and sugar, and stir. Grate over some nutmeg and dot the top with little pieces of butter. Bake in a low oven (about 130 C) for 2-3 hours, until the rice is soft and the consistency is thick and creamy. You can stir the skin in from time to time, but who would want to?

2. Pressure cooker
Melt some butter in the pressure cooker and swirl it to coat the base. Then pour in the mlik and bring to a rolling boil. Pour in the rice and stir. Add vanilla essence and nutmeg. Do not add the sugar! Bring up to pressure, regulate the heat until the cooker hisses gently, and cook for 12 minutes. Then leave the pressure to fall naturally, before opening and stirring in the sugar. Pressure cookers vary, so if the result is not creamy enough for your liking, just cook it 2-3 minutes longer next time. Do not overfill the cooker, or let it boil furiously! Otherwise the milk will froth and block the vents.

3.Stovetop
This is the most time-consuming method because you have to stand over it till it’s cooked, a bit like making risotto, but if you don’t have an oven or a pressure cooker, it’s a good standby. Just put the rice, butter and milk in a pan, and if you have one scrape in the seeds from a vanilla pod and throw in the pod too. Heat gently till it comes to a simmer. You need to stir it to stop it sticking, occasionally at first and constantly when it’s nearly ready; it will take 20-30 minutes. As it thickens, taste to see when the rice is done. You may need to add a bit more milk if the rice is not done when most of the milk has been absorbed.

ricepudding with caramelised pears 3

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8 Responses to “Three ways of making rice pudding”

  • Wonderful thread, Veronica and such beautiful photos. I love rice pudding, hot or cold, and I can’t be the only person in the world with a naughty and guilty little penchant for Ambrosia Creamed Rice, eaten from the tin! But I must say, your caramel pear topping looks marvellous. Another lovely accompaniment at this time of year is forced rhubard, baked with orange or ginger into a pink compote

    I favour the stove-top method, as I like a fairly liquidy pudding. I sometimes replace some of the milk with coconut milk and serve it with mangos or passionfruit as a nice pud after Asian meals

    If you don’t like your rice pudding cold, you won’t like a ‘gelato’ that we had in Florence, which was effectively made out of rice pudding. It was, to my taste, one of the best ice-creams I’ve ever had with a very interesting texture

  • Hi – I love rice pudding and used to make a delicious baked version that contained eggs. Have you ever come across the recipe as I can no longer find it?

  • Hi Rosie

    I’ve never done rice pudding with eggs in, though I have heard of this method. I’ve never fancied it, because I assume the pudding would turn out solid rather than creamy. I suspect it’s pretty much the above (oven-baked) recipe with an egg beaten into it!

  • I just remember it having a lovely, slightly eggy but sweet flavour. I’ll add short grain rice onto my shopping list and have an experiment with adding the eggs.

  • I’ve got a very different rice pudding that is quite Persian in falvour. It’s done on a stove top with very little attendance, and is delicious cold as well as hot (not room temperature though – bluergh!). Put 1 cup of pudding rice and 2 cups of water into a heavy-bottomed pan with a tight fitting lid , bring to a boil then turn down to the lowest temperature with a diffuser under the pan. When the water is almost absorbed add 2 cups of milk. When that is about half absorbed add half a cup of sugar, the ground seeds of 5 green cardamom pods and a tablespoon of rose water. Continue to steam until it gets to the consistency you want.

  • That does sound interesting Amanda — love the idea of the cardamom! Who knows, it might reconcile me to cold rice pudding :)

  • Yeah, I don’t get the cold bread pudding thing either. I love bread pudding but, my husband doesn’t so I been bread pudding deprived. Your’s look really delicious and satisfying! And inspiring.
    Have a great day! :)

  • Have not tried your recipe but I will, untill last week in Majorca I only favoured hot rice pudding, but after being served some cold with what I believe was an orange sauce (it was in a jug,it looked like orange it tasted like orange,so I guess it must have been orange)
    Anyway I am a convert as I just could not get enough of it.
    I am now trying to confirm that the sauce really was orange,any helpers?

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