Rice pudding is one dessert I can never refuse. I can say “no” to chocolate cake, fruit crisps, and even apple desserts (that’s more difficult), but if I am offered a rice pudding it’s an automatic “I’ll have it”. It’s the sweet, creamy, slightly chewy and totally satisfying dessert that takes me back to my childhood and brings me the comfort of home. Of course, my Mom, with her discerning palate, used to make the best rice pudding ever (my apologies to your Mom).
I use risotto rice for making this (arborio or carnaroli) because they release their starch into a creamy texture that makes a beautiful pudding. Once the rice is cooked I fold whipped cream into it to lighten and give it a fluffy, rich texture.
Rice pudding is not the kind of dish you put on the stove and forget about for half an hour. You need to keep stirring it to make sure it doesn’t boil over, burn on the bottom or cook too fast. You want the rice to cook slowly and not dry out with too much liquid boiled away. Your patience will pay off.
Personalize the recipe: You can add flavouring to the rice such as vanilla, orange zest, cinnamon, cardamom, add raisins if you like them and top it with berries and/or crunchy nuts. For a more exotic version try adding rose or orange water (just a little) and top with pistachios. You can even vary the milk you use, replacing some with evaporated and even a little condensed milk. You can serve it with a fruit compote or spoon the fruits into the serving dish, topping it with the rice pudding as I did in a previous post here. For a vegan version use rice or oat milk and instead of milk and fold in cashew cream, whipped.
Below is the recipe using basic ingredients, served with rhubarb and raspberry compote. Delish.
4 cups milk
1/2 cup arborio or carnaroli rice
1 cinnamon stick or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon orange zest, grated on a microplane (meaning fine)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream
Cinnamon for sprinkling
Chopped walnuts or candied nuts for topping
Place milk, rice, cinnamon and orange zest in a large pot (I use le Creuset).
Bring to a boil, then lower heat to barley simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Towards the end of the cooking add the sugar.
When done remove the cinnamon stick if you used it and pour into a bowl. Let it cool on the counter, then refrigerate until cold.
Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold into the cold rice pudding, leaving some whipped cream for garnish. Return to the fridge to chill and set.
Either fill dessert cups with the rice pudding, top with whipped cream and sprinkle cinnamon or top, or spoon a little rhubarb compote into the bowl and top with the rice pudding.
Sprinkle chopped nuts on top.
Rhubarb and raspberry compote
4 cups rhubarb, chopped
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen
Place rhubarb, sugar and water in a heavy pot and bring to a slow boil.
Lower heat and simmer until thickens.
Towards the end of the cooking add the berries and stir to mix.
Cool and store in a jar in the fridge.