More than a few months ago, in the last days of summer, I had a hankering for rice pudding, and because I get kind of lonely in my kitchen, I posted on Facebook "The heart wants what the heart wants, and that's why I'm making rice pudding." My friend Cheryl, who loves rice pudding like I do and has yet to find the perfect recipe, has been after me ever since that post to actually write up the recipe.
Wait no more, Cheryl, here it is, not a fancy rice pudding, just an easy stovetop version, adapted from the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. It's just the ticket, slightly warm on a cool night, or slightly cool on a warm afternoon. And in the realm of alternative breakfasts, it's a filling start, fortified with dried fruit.
2 cups water
1 cup long grain rice
¼ teaspoon salt
4 cups whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
1 ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan, preferably non-stick (you’ll thank me later). Stir in rice and salt. Cover and simmer until rice is plumped, about 15 minutes.
2. Measure milk into a pourable cup and microwave for one minute. Stir milk followed by sugar into the rice. Let cook for about another 45 minutes, until mixture is very thick.
3. Remove pan from stovetop and stir in vanilla.
4. A sprinkle of cinnamon is nice, so is nutmeg. If you’ve ever read or listened to Carmen Deedy's stories about growing up in Havana, Cuba, and Decatur, Georgia, you’ll want to add a squeeze of half of a lime to the mixture. Raisins, craisins and other dried fruit are nice.
Text and images copyright 2011, Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books.
Just a note on the aggressive watermark on this photo. The picture of rice pudding is the most-purloined image from the blog. While I'm happy to lend a cup of sugar or rice to a neighbor, I charge to use my photographs. So, if you're tempted to borrow my picture, please consider this: Rice pudding is as simple a dish as can be, please stir up your own pot of pudding, take it outside to get some good natural light and snap away with either your phone's camera or a point and shoot or whatever you have around. I used a very basic Nikon CoolPix for this shot and PicMonkey to edit it. You can do it, I know you can. Be assured that if you use my photograph, I will call you out on it.