Rice Pudding

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Photo by Michael Piazza / Styled by Catrine Kelty

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.

Serves 4–6

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.

This recipe appeared in the Winter 2017 issue as part of a larger story on Winter Puddings.