Rice pudding has always been a bit underrated, in my opinion. It’s a really wonderful dessert, especially when served warm. As with Indian pudding, there seems to be an endless array of recipes out there. The recipe here is a simple, straightforward one, but any number of flavorings could be added during the rice-cooking process.
Citrus zest is a nice addition, as are pieces of fresh lemongrass or ginger, which give the pudding more of an Asian flavor; just don’t forget to remove them! Grand Marnier or other liqueurs also work well and can be folded in along with whipped cream. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
¾ cup uncooked white rice (short or medium grain is best)
2 cups milk
1⁄3 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1 vanilla bean, scraped, or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2⁄3 cup raisins, optional
1 cup heavy cream, whipped, if serving chilled
In a medium saucepan, bring 1½ cups water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
In a clean saucepan, combine the cooked rice, 1½ cups milk, vanilla bean (if using vanilla extract, it will be added later) sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy (approximately 10–15 minutes). If you’ve used a vanilla bean, remove it now. Stir in remaining ½ cup milk, beaten egg and raisins (if using). Cook for 2 minutes more, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and stir in butter, cinnamon and vanilla (if using extract). Serve warm.
NOTE: The pudding can be served chilled as well but it tends to be a bit dense, so I like to fold in whipped cream to lighten it. This can then be served right away or covered and kept refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Lisa Sewall graduated from Johnson and Wales in Providence. She then came to Boston and worked at Biba, before going to Nantucket to work at the White Elephant, Summer House, and Wauwinet. She returned to Boston and was the Pastry Chef at L’Espalier (where she met, Jeremy, her husband.) For five years, she lived in Northern California as the opening Pastry Chef at Ondine in Sausalito. In 2006, she and Jeremy opened Lineage in Brookline. Lisa and Jeremy have three kids which keeps her out of professional kitchens for the moment!