Rice Pudding recipe

The winter of 2013/14 has been vile. In December and January it hasn’t stopped raining and it’s been really windy – often literally blowing a gale. It’s been impossible to do much of anything in the garden and even taking a walk involves the kind of gear that I’d normally associate with deep-sea fishing. All round, yuk.

At times like this I find myself looking for comfort food and rice pudding always seems to hit the spot. Warm, rich and creamy but easy to make with very little sugar – my idea of a pudding. This recipe keeps for two or three days in the fridge and can easily be reheated in the oven or the microwave. If you use the microwave make sure to cover it as it will spit.

Ingredients

2oz short grain rice – don’t try to use long grain, it’s just not the same

1 – 1½ level teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon almond or vanilla essence – you may want to add nutmeg as well but I find the essence adds such a lovely flavour that I leave it off

1 pint milk – I use semi-skimmed (half-fat) but you could use skimmed

¼ pint cream – optional

Butter to grease and for small shavings

 

Preheat your oven to 150C.

Combine the rice and sugar in a lightly buttered dish that’s deep enough to allow about 3 inches above the mixture once the milk has been added.

Pour in the milk, cream, if using, and the essence and then stir thoroughly.

Dot the top of the mixture with very thin shavings of butter. If you are using nutmeg, sprinkle with it now.

Place the bowl into the oven and leave for 30 minutes. Then remove from the oven and stir thoroughly. The rice will have just started to take up the milk and you’ll probably find that it has boiled up the cooking dish – which is why you need to leave good headroom.

Return to the oven and cook for a further 60-90 minutes. I recommend that you check it after the hour and, if all of the milk has been absorbed by the rice, add a small quantity of extra milk or remove from the oven.

Tip: This recipe is designed to minimise the sugar content but if you prefer things a little sweeter you can add a swirl of jam or honey when serving or throw in some currents. I also add a splash of extra cream.

These quantities will serve four but, if you like generous portions, or just love rice pudding, can be finished by two people.

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