Those of you who've been following The Food of Love for a while might recall my ardent quest for a recipe that would produce a creamy rice pudding. I've dumped a fair share of trials over the bank, but finally I have a recipe that produces a very creamy, rich rice pudding that will leave you feeling like the cat that lapped up the cream. I have my friend and hairdresser Donna to thank for the recipe, which came to her by way of her sister. So here's a big shout out to Donna's sister: thank you for the perfect recipe for rice pudding.
I've made rice pudding on top of the stove, in the oven--with or without a bain Marie, in a crockpot. I've used short grain rice, long grain rice, instant rice, brown rice, and Arborio rice. I've used whole milk, condensed milk, half and half, and cream. So what separates this rice pudding from all the rest? I believe it is the cooking method, which is a long simmer in a double boiler. The recipe I received didn't give any "time," so I checked the rice for doneness every 15 minutes and it took 1 1/2 hours. First I brought the water in the bottom half of the double boiler to a boil. Then I added the insert with the mixture in it to the double boiler and I cooked the mixture on medium high until it was hot. Finally, I lowered the heat to a simmer. Following this method, the rice was cooked perfectly and the custard was thick. I repeat these directions below because it was on the second try that I achieved "Nirvana."
1/2 cup long grain rice (I used Carolina)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 pint whole milk
1 pint heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
Bring the water in the bottom half of a double boiler to a rolling boil. Place the rice, sugar, salt, milk, and cream in the top of a double boiler and check periodically until it becomes hot. When it does, turn the heat to low so that the water is simmering. It's important to leave the heat on high until the mixture is hot so that it will thicken (my first batch I didn't do this and the mixture was a bit thin). Stir every 15-20 minutes, cooking until the rice is done, about 1 1/2 hours. Beat the egg, then add a little of the hot liquid and mix together. Slowly pour this egg mixture into the pudding, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Add 1 tsp vanilla. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Chill.
I've made this twice now and it is just incredibly delicious. I've never seen another recipe for rice pudding that calls for a double boiler, but I'm convinced that this cooking method accounts for the absolutely perfect consistency. I defy you to eat this without making "yummy noises."