ArchiveDecember 3, 2022

Rice Pudding

Guess what, rice pudding is really having a moment, almost every restaurant I’ve eaten in recently has had rice pudding in some shape or form on the menu – can you imagine that the humble pud of our childhood would be gracing the table of swanky establishments.  No problem for me, I adore rice pudding even the simplest version with a blob of softly whipped cream and a sprinkling of soft brown sugar or a spoonful of jam.

Challenging times call for familiar comforting foods, apparently sales of rice pudding and tinned rice are up in all major food chains and recipe searches are up by 233% – who would have thought that the dreaded milk pudding of our school days is all the rage again.  Perfect for these frugal times.  If ever there was a pudding that can soothe, this is it.  A 500g packet of rice costs approx. €2.45 and even though the price has recently increased, it’s still brilliant value, 100g of rice will yield enough rice pudding for 6 or 8. One can make rice pudding from any kind of rice but my favourite by far is short grain rice or Carolina rice – often referred to as pudding rice or pearl rice.  I love the way it soaks and plumps up in the milk to an unctuous creamy texture.  Rice pudding can be dressed up or down and is a vehicle for so many different flavours and accompaniments.  I enjoyed different versions at Café Cecilia, Portland and St. John Restaurant in London.  Each serves their own riff on the classic pudding.  During the Summer, Jeremy Lee of Quo Vadis served a refreshing cold rice pud with tea-soaked prunes and custard but now that the weather has turned chiller it’s back to the classic version now – what Jeremy refers to as ‘comfort and joy’…He adds a good measure of cream, half a vanilla pod and a generous grating of nutmeg.  This coconut milk version is also delicious as are these rice pudding pancakes.

Simon Hopkinson, late of Bibendum, is also a rice pudding fan and here too is his recipe.

We all agree about the deliciousness of the golden skin on top of the baked version but if you are happy to forgo that tradition, one can also make rice pudding in a pot – here is Mrs. Black’s version to enjoy.  If perchance you have some leftover rice pudding, how about rice pudding arancini?  Roll the cold rice into balls, then into flour, egg and toasted crumbs, before deep-frying in hot oil until crisp and golden.  Dust generously with icing sugar and serve hot with butterscotch sauce or ice-cold apple purée and cream.  A slab of crumbed cold rice pudding, fried until crisp on the outside in bubbling butter is irresistible too.  So there are lots of options to try and not a morsel wasted…

My Mum’s Delicious Rice Pudding

A feast for just a couple of cents, which brings childhood memories romping back.  We show every group of students how to make this simple pudding and it’s a revelation how simply delicious it is.

Serves 6–8

100g (3 1⁄2oz) pearl rice (short-grain rice)

50g (2oz) caster sugar

15g (1/2oz) butter

1. 2 litres (2 pints) whole milk

1 x 1. 2 litre (2 pint) pie dish, mine is Pyrex from a charity shop

Preheat the oven to 170˚C/325˚F/Gas Mark 3.

Put the rice, sugar and butter into a pie dish. Bring the milk to the boil and pour evenly over the rice. Bake for 1 – 1 1⁄2 hours. The skin will be golden, the rice underneath should be cooked through and have soaked up the milk, but still be soft and creamy. Time it, so that it’s ready just in time for pudding. If it has to wait in the oven for ages, it will be dry and dull and you’ll wonder why you bothered.  Serve with softly whipped cream and a good sprinkling of soft brown sugar. 

Mrs. Black’s Rice Pudding in a pot

Thank you, Mrs. Black, for sharing your recipe, no need for an oven – hot but still rich and delicious. 

600ml (1 pint) whole milk

75g (3oz) pearl or pudding rice

15g (1/2oz) sugar

grated rind of 1 tangerine or mandarin

To serve

soft brown sugar

softly whipped cream

fruit compote of your choice

Wash the rice in a strainer, allow cold water to flow through it.

Put the rice and milk into a saucepan, stir and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and cook gently until the rice grains soften and swell, absorbing the milk.  Stir regularly – this will take 45 minutes approximately. 

Add the sugar and the finely grated rind of the tangerine or mandarin. Mix gently.

Serve warm or cold with soft brown sugar and softly whipped cream and a fruit compote of your choice or perhaps slices of tangerine or mandarin.

Variation: Rice Brûlee for a posh party

Put the rice into ramekins, sprinkle a generous tablespoon of Demerara sugar on top, and caramelize with a blow torch.

Simon Hopkinson’s Rice Pudding

Simon Hopkinson cooks the kind of food I love to eat – this recipe is taken from the BBC Food Recipes but look out for his cookbook ‘Roast Chicken and Other Stories’

40g (1 1/2oz) butter

100g (3 1/2oz) rice pudding 

75g (3oz) caster sugar

1 litre (1 3/4 pints) whole milk

150ml (5fl oz) cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla pod, split lengthways

pinch salt

plenty of freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 140°C/285°F/Gas Mark 1.

Melt the butter in a heavy-based casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains. Add the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Continue stirring until the rice swells and becomes sticky with sugar.

Pour in the milk and keep stirring until no lumps remain. Add the cream and vanilla and bring the mixture to a simmer. Once this is reached, give the mixture a final stir and grate at least a third of a nutmeg over the surface. Bake for 1 – 1 1/2 hours and cover if the surfaces browns too quickly.

Once there is a thin, tarpaulin-like skin on the surface, and the pudding only just wobbles in the centre, it is ready.

Serve at room temperature.

Kheer Marwadi – Indian Rice Pudding

This delicious rice pudding, a speciality of Rajasthan, is spiced with cardamom, it’s got lots of plump sultanas and chopped nuts and saffron has an almost soup like texture. 

Rosewater varies in strength so be careful to add gradually and taste.

This dessert can be cooked ahead and served warm or cold.

Serves 6-8

1 tablespoon coconut oil

50g (2oz) Basmati rice, soaked for an hour and drained

1 litre (1 3/4 pints) coconut milk

500ml (18fl oz) water

3 tablespoons ground almonds

100g (3 1/2oz) caster sugar

50g (2oz) fresh coconut, grated

25g (1oz) raisins or sultanas

50g (2oz) pistachio nuts cut into slivers

50g (2oz) blanched almonds, cut into slivers

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground green cardamom seeds

2 teaspoons kewra essence – keeps indefinitely or use rosewater instead but be careful – add 1/2 teaspoon first and then taste.

To Serve

chopped pistachios

rose petals

Heat the coconut oil in a pan.  Add the soaked rice, stir for 2 or 3 minutes then add the coconut milk and water and cook over a low heat for an hour until the rice absorbs the liquid and the pudding thickens.

Stir in the ground almonds, sugar, coconut, raisins or sultanas, pistachios and almond slivers.  Cook for a final couple of minutes until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from the heat and stir in the ground cardamom and kewra or rosewater.  Cool and chill. Sprinkle with some chopped pistachios and rose petals if available

Serve in individual dishes.

Rice Pudding Pancakes

A fun way to use up leftover rice pudding.

Makes 8 pancakes

400g (14oz) leftover rice pudding

1 egg

70g (scant 3oz) plain white flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

ground cinnamon (optional)

butter for cooking

Mix together the cold rice pudding, beaten egg, flour, baking powder with a generous pinch of cinnamon (if using) until everything is well combined.

Melt a little clarified butter in a frying pan.  When it starts to bubble, add a large tablespoon of batter, reduce the heat and gently fry over a low heat for 3-4 minutes until golden, flip over and continue to cook until golden on the other side.  Serve on a hot plate with honey, butterscotch or chocolate sauce and softly whipped cream.


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