Rice Pudding: A True Comfort Food
When we were kids, it was a real treat for Mom to make us rice pudding from extra rice. Her budget was lean, so having rice pudding for dessert was really special. After it was made she’d swirl in what she called a “knob” of butter. But not always, only when she had extra to spare. She always used whole milk, which was what we drank daily.
I’ve taken her recipe and made it my own to include dried fruit and nuts (she never put either in). Traditionally, raisins are added to the pudding, but I like cherries and toasted slivered almonds. Rice pudding is true comfort food!
3/4 cup medium grain white rice, cooked
Couple pinches salt
2 cups whole milk (or your favorite)
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup each: dried fruit and toasted slivered almonds (opt)
Butter – about a tablespoon (optional but good)
To cook rice: I usually use the ratio of 2:1 – 2 parts liquid to 1 part rice, so that would be 1-1/2 cups water to cook the 3/4 cup rice. Put water and salt in pan. Bring to a boil, then stir in rice. Lower to a simmer, cover and cook until rice is done, about 20 minutes.
In a pan, pour in 1-1/2 cups milk and the sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat to dissolve sugar. Stir in cooked rice and continue to cook until mixture is creamy and fairly thick, about 10-15 minutes, stirring the rice pudding occasionally.
Whisk egg, vanilla and 1/2 cup milk together. Pour this into rice mixture, stirring constantly until egg is cooked. This will only take a few minutes. Mixture will be quite thick and creamy. Stir in fruit and nuts if using in your rice pudding. Stir in butter.
Tips from Rita’s kitchen:
Which rice is best for rice pudding? Medium white grain makes a creamy rice pudding, but if all you have is white long grain, go ahead and use it. Your rice pudding will be a bit less creamy. I have not tried making this with brown rice, which is a whole grain and would require more liquid.
Gilding the lily: Serve warm rice pudding, room temperature or chilled with a dollop of whipped cream on top.
Cinnamon? One of my boys liked cinnamon on his rice pudding but the other two liked it plain. Up to you!
Variations: Substitute 1/2 teaspoon almond extract for 1 of the teaspoons of vanilla.
Information on different types of milk.
To toast almonds for rice pudding or any time.
Oven: Preheat oven to 325. Pour in single layer on pan. Toast just until fragrant and golden, about 8-10 minutes or so. Give nuts a stir a couple of times during toasting.
Stove-top: Place in nonstick skillet over low heat. Stir constantly until nuts are golden. Remove from skillet immediately.
Rice Pudding with Coconut Milk
If you want something with an exotic twist, try this recipe using coconut milk. This is delicious with toasted coconut on top. Adapted from a Jungle Jim recipe.
2 cans Coconut Milk, 13-14 oz. each
1-3/4 cups water
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups uncooked rice (short grain works better than long grain)
3/4 cup dried cherries, cranberries or golden raisins
3/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
Toasted coconut for garnish (optional)
Heat milk, water, sugar, salt and vanilla to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir
in rice, reduce heat to lowest temperature and cover. Simmer covered until most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Don’t let mixture boil over.
When cooked and liquid is just about absorbed, add fruit and nuts. Garnish with toasted coconut.
Tips from Rita’s kitchen:
- Coconut milk is NOT cream of coconut, which contains sugar, among other ingredients. Coconut milk contains no sugar.
- The flavor of coconut milk can be very mild. You’ll see a layer of “cream” on top of the liquid. Stir before using.
Toasting coconut: Preheat oven to 325. Toast in single layer, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Be careful, it can burn easily. Check after 5 minutes total time.