Thursday, 20 September 2012

Some Grown Up Rice Pudding Suggestions

Rice pudding was one of the comfort foods of my childhood. The rice pudding itself: tinned. The topping? Cold raspberry jam. But it can also make a very good grown up dessert in its own right, drizzled with a warming, amber-coloured liqueur or folded around a block of melting dark chocolate.

Vanilla rice pudding with dark chocolate folded in...

Once you get the basic recipe down, you can play around with flavours as you wish. The amount of milk you'll need to add will vary depending on the size of the pan. If you have a large, wide, shallow pan the liquid will evaporate quicker (more surface area) and then you'll have to add more milk to keep the rice cooking and stop it drying out altogether. Go for a medium-sized, non-stick saucepan, and stir regularly with a wooden or silicone spoon. I've given the quantities here for the way I make it at home, but be prepared to add a little extra milk in towards the end, if you need to.

And one of the best things about rice pudding is that it's cheap, a little goes a very long way, and it's very filling. So don't hog it all to yourself.

Basic stovetop vanilla rice pudding


Basic Stovetop Rice Pudding
Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 100g pudding rice
  • 650ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 50ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 2 tablespoons golden caster sugar
Method
  1. Tip the pudding rice into a non-stick saucepan and pour over the cold milk. Switch on the heat underneath and bring to a gentle simmer.
  2. Slice the vanilla pod in half lengthways, removing the seeds. Add the black seeds and also their pods to the pan, along with the sugar. Keep an eye on it, stirring regularly. If you see that it's drying up, add a little more milk. Keep it simmering for about 25-30 minutes.
  3. Fish out the vanilla pod, swilr in the double cream and take the rice pudding off the heat. Serve while hot.
And now, jazz it up a bit...

Chocolate and Vanilla
Once you've taken the pan off the heat, break in a square of dark chocolate and gently fold the rice over and around it until it starts to swirl and give a marbled effect. You could also add in some white chocolate, but adjust the quantities of sugar and maybe vanilla, so the end result isn't too sweet or the vanilla too over powering.



Tia Maria
Coffee and vanilla complement each other so well, so once you have your basic vanilla rice pudding, serve it in bowls and then dribble a small amount of Tia Maria or another coffee liqueur. Other liqueurs that would work well include Baileys and Creme de Cacao (chocolate liqueur). Or I'd be tempted to break in the chocolate as above and dribble over some dark rum too.

Vanilla rice pudding with a Tia Maria drizzle

Fruits
Fold in some raspberries or blackberries and let their juices marble the pale, sweet rice. You could also stew fruits in liqueur and pour them over the top, like Jamie Oliver does in Jamie's Great Britain. He stewed rhubarb in Pimm's, and then swirled it through vanilla-scented rice pudding. And although he suggests folding some clotted cream through at the end, I did this and found it to be far too rich. That's why I use semi-skimmed milk and then a swirl of double cream. It's just slightly less creamy.

Do you have any recipes using rice pudding? How do you like to eat yours?