My first and only memory of rice pudding was when I was about 7. I was at a BBQ under a pavilion of a park for my Fathers’ softball team. I think it was probably an end of the season get together or something. Well, of the few memories I have of the day, one of them was of a rice pudding that somebody had brought. I just thought it was the most delicious thing! I absolutely loved it. Not something that I think most 7 year olds are attracted to, but for some reason rice pudding and I really hit it off. I’d like to go on and say that I have since developed this strong relationship with rice pudding… nope. Like I said to begin with, that had been the only time I had eaten the stuff. I just never thought to make my own, never wanted to buy it, and never saw it at another gathering again.
It’s been on my “to-do” list since I started my blog. I’ve been waiting it out until summer to make some up though. Maybe it’s just because that was when I first experienced it, but I feel like rice pudding is a summer dish. I mean, anything you can make without turning the stove on is truly meant to be a summer dish- right? That’s my thought process at least.
There are a lot of variations out there for rice pudding. The one that I first experienced was a cinnamon-raisin rice pudding, so that is what I wanted to re-create here. You can always opt out of the cinnamon and use dried cherries or dried apricots. Anything goes really. If you’re one for the plain stuff then just go with straight-rice pudding, nothing fancy. Personally, I am dying to try this Chocolate Rice Pudding by Giada de Laurentiis.
This particular recipe was so easy and delicious. It came out very creamy with a great balance of flavors- not too sweet. Just keep in mind, even though it may be fairly liquidy towards the end, the rice is going to absorb all that excess liquid as it cools. SO! Do not keep simmering it until it is to the level of creaminess you desire- stop before you hit that point or it will end up dry!
- 2 cups water
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 1 cup white medium-grain rice
- 2½ cups whole milk
- 2½ cups half-and-half
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 1¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup heavy cream, optional
- Cinnamon for garnish
- Bring 2 cups water to boil in large, heavy-bottomed pot (at least 3 quarts). Stir in salt and rice; cover and simmer over low heat, stirring once or twice until water is almost fully absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add milk, half-and-half and sugar. Increase heat to medium-high to bring to simmer, then reduce heat to maintain simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until mixture starts to thicken, about 30 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring every couple of minutes to prevent sticking and scorching, about 15 minutes longer or until thickened. The pudding will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. When the pudding is cooled, stir in the heavy cream. This pudding may be served cold or at room temperature. Divide among serving dishes and sprinkle with cinnamon to taste.
adapted from ”The New Best Recipe” By Cooks Illustrated