A Tale of Two Rice Puddings
There are two kinds of rice pudding in my life. One is my Mom's recipe. Rich, creamy, and loaded with plump raisins, it is the best rice pudding you will ever have. The other is a quick and easy rice pudding you can make using leftover rice. Much less decadent, but it fills a certain niche too.
Yesterday, I made the quick and easy version. I had some leftover rice from Chinese takeout and decided that there would be no lovlier use for it than rice pudding, even this basic one. Here's how you make it:
Quick and Light Rice Pudding
2 cups leftover rice
1 cup milk (I used skim to keep the calories down and it worked fine)
½ teaspoon salt
3-5 tablespoons sugar, honey, or maple syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ cup raisins or other dried fruit
Combine the rice and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Just when it's to a boil, cover it and lower the heat. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until all milk is almost absorbed (20 mins worked for me). Add all the additional ingredients and stir.
This is a healthier, lighter rice pudding than the rich, creamy one my Mom makes. As such, it's suitable for a light dessert, an afternoon snack, or even as breakfast. While it lacks the creamy goodness and depth of my Mom's recipe, it's great as a lighter, faster alternative. I ate some for breakfast this morning and Lima even had it as most of her dinner tonight.
But let's get to the good stuff. If you are looking for a really decadent rice pudding, look no further. In reviewing my Mom's recipe, I don't see anything that makes it particularly unusual or unique, but it's stood the test of time and is always delicious. My Mom, an incredibly sweet and giving lady, is the type of person who always makes special food and desserts based on who's coming over. So my cousin Carol gets her delicious homemade manicotti, my cousin Laura gets her pecan praline pie, and my brother Mike gets beef stroganoff. I hate beef stroganoff and I think it should also be noted that my Mom never makes it when I am home; she reserves it for visits from my brother only, not larger family gatherings. This is the kind of niceness we're talking about here. Anyway, there's a whole contingent of "rice pudding lovers" who visit and my Mom will make rice pudding for them. I happily fall into this group.
Mom's Old Fashioned Creamy Rice Pudding
1 quart milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup long grain rice
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs slightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a heavy saucepan, cook the milk and salt until slightly heated. Stir in the washed rice. When the mixture reaches the boiling point, lower heat and simmer 15-30 minutes until rice is done. Add 1/4 cup evaporated milk and cook a few minutes longer. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugar, vanilla and the remaining 3/4 cup evaporated milk. Stir some of the rice mixture into the egg mixture. Return the mixture to the one in the saucepan and cook slowly until it thickens a bit (about 3-4 minutes). Pour into bowl; stir often as it cools. Serve with dash of cinnamon on top if you'd like.
I wish I had a photo of this pudding to share in this post. It's much creamier and prettier than my rice pudding pictured above. You'll just have to trust me on that for now.
By the way, I had my Mom's rice pudding recipe tucked away in a recipe box my Mom painted and stamped for me. She also filled it with some recipes she knew I loved. She did this when I got married and moved into a bigger apartment with a kitchen you could actually cook in. How cute is she?