After a conversation I just had with J during which he decided to malign the good name of rice pudding, I suddenly realised that rice pudding doesn’t actually have a good name! And so now I have taken it upon myself to rectify this terrible situation. ‘Creamy Rice’ was always one of my favourite desserts when I was young(er). And it remains one of my favourite desserts to this day (although being in France is rapidly adding to that list).
I’m not sure why so many people shun this simple, traditional, delicious dessert. Perhaps they had a bad experience when they were little? Maybe their brother put it down their pants? Maybe their mother was too rushed and forgot to rinse the rice? Maybe their grandmother accidentally picked up the cayenne pepper thinking it was cinnamon like mine did one memorable night?
Regardless of the reasons, I think that rice pudding has been unfairly maligned. It can be eaten warm and thick on a winter’s night to stick to your bones and keep you warm while you’re asleep. It can be eaten chilled and runny after lunch on a summer’s day in front of a fan on full ball. And it can be eaten sneakily for breakfast when you’ve done some particularly good sleeping and deserve a treat.
Rice Pudding recipes come in loads of different types. You have stovetop, crockpot or baked puddings; cream-based, milk-based or egg-based puddings; short-grain, long-grain or brown rice puddings; as well as loads of other variables.
The recipe that my grandmother always used was a simple one, designed to be cheap to make. You can easily modify it though to make it more suited to your tastes.
1/2 cup medium grain rice
1 cup water
1 tin of ‘skinny-tinny’ (skim evaporated milk)
1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp nutmeg
Rinse your rice well and then cook in boiling water until just tender. Drain and then add your skinny tinny, caster sugar and vanilla and bring to a simmer. Put it in a bowl, sprinkle the top with nutmeg, cover with glad wrap and leave it on the bench to set for an hour or so. You can pop it in the fridge too if you want.
A skin will form on the top. I don’t really like that part but it’s my Pop’s favourite. He called it ‘the fly’s velodrome’.
Maybe you’ll like it, maybe you won’t, but I hope you do because it filled my tummy nicely on many a winter’s night.