Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Baked Rice Pudding

We didn't eat a lot of rice when I was a kid. Maybe less than once a month. Actually, I think the only time rice ever really made an appearance was in my mom's rice pudding, which I generally associate with our Monday family night desserts and the orangey-brown casserole dish it was always baked in. My momma believed that rice pudding should have lots of cinnamon on top (which often turned into a slightly scary looking but very tasty cinnamon-pudding crust) and be served with a dash of milk and a very large dollop of ice cream. That was dessert rice pudding.

The next morning the same rice pudding suspiciously appeared as our morning meal, but this time without the ice cream. That was breakfast rice pudding. There's a clear difference. I'm surprised you didn't notice how very clear it is.

Now this rice pudding is not actually my momma's eggy custard-based recipe; it's much simpler than that. All you need is some rice, sugar, milk of any variety (no really- any kind/ combination of milk will do) and a pinch of salt. And although it does take about 2 hours, most of that time is spent out of the kitchen while the rice slowly cooks. 

Baked Rice Pudding
Recipe from How to Cook Everything The Basics by Mark Bittman
Picture by Kelly

1/3 cup white rice, any variety
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups of milk*
pinch of salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Combine the rice, sugar, salt, and milk in a large dish that holds at least 6 cups. Stir a couple of times and put it in the oven, uncovered. Bake for 30 minutes, then stir. Bake for 30 more minutes then stir again; at this point the rice might be swelling up and the milk should begin to develop a bubbly skin (if so, stir back into the mixture).
  2. Cook until the rice plumps and starts to become a more noticeable part of the mixture and the skin becomes more visible and darker, about 30 minutes more. Now the pudding is getting close to done, so check on it every 10 minutes, stirring each time (it should reach the right texture in 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the kind of rice you used).
  3. The pudding will be done before you think it's done (I overcooked mine just a bit). The rice should be really swollen and the milk thickened considerably but still pretty fluid (it will thicken more as it cools). Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.
*I used 2 cups of coconut milk, 2 cups regular milk. Try using almond, soy, or rice milk as a variation. You can also vary the flavor by adding: cinnamon, cloves, and/or nutmeg; grated citrus zest; 1 teaspoon vanilla (after cooking); or top with chopped, toasted nuts and/or coconut. 

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