Rice pudding is considered by some to be the ultimate comfort dessert. There is something almost reassuring about a bowl of creamy rice that has been scented with vanilla and lovingly stirred until it is soft and ambrosial. One of my most vivid childhood memories is the constant existence of rice pudding, sitting in bowls dotted in my grandma’s fridge – waiting for her hungry grandchildren to enjoy.
Quite honestly I rarely make this myself anymore – especially in a non-vegan form. I kind of “got over” rice pudding because we used to have it so much. My love for rice pudding was re-invigorated when I tasted a version that tasted less like traditional rice pudding, but like a gorgeous silky creme anglaise (which is a light custard) with creamy rice in it. I wondered how they achieved such a result…did they cook the rice separately and fold in the creme anglaise? Did they make a traditional rice pudding and fold it in with the creme? My mind was awash with possibilities, but i really didn’t have time to experiment. Cut to a few months later I was talking to my friend about her new thermomix and she told me how she made rice pudding with eggs in it and how she had never made it that way before. Lightbulbs all over my head…OF COURSE, you start the recipe like a traditional rice pudding (rice and milk bubbling away, lovingly stirred in the pot) but instead of adding the sugar and letting it set at that, you separately prepare a concoction of egg yolks and sugar, whip them slightly and then once the rice is is the right texture, you slowly (SLOWLY) a ladleful at a time add the milky rice to the egg yolks, then put that whole mixture back on the heat until it thickens. Creme Anglaise rice pudding….ah-mazing!
There are a few things to remember:
1. Quality of the vanilla used is extremely important to your end result. I used vanilla bean paste because i love the stuff, but you can use a whole vanilla bean, seeds scraped out and the pod left in the milk until the rice is cooked. If you will be using Vanilla Essence, ensure its a good quality real essence and not an imitation
2. When you add the milky rice mixture to the eggs, you must do this at an ultra ultra slow speed. Add one ladleful…mix…add another ladleful…mix some more. The idea here is that you raise the temperature of the eggs extremely slowly so that they dont cook and turn into scrambled eggs with vanilla and rice. Eww.
3. You want to cook the rice softer and creamier than you would regular rice for eating, so be patient, and enjoy the process.
5 cups whole milk
1/2 cup rice (raw, medium grain)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 2 teaspoons vanilla essence or 1 vanilla bean
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 pinch salt
1. In a pot add the rice, milk, vanilla bean (if using – dont add paste or vanilla yet) and salt and bring to a gentle boil while stirring
2. Lower the heat and continue stirring while the mixture simmers, until the rice is cooked and creamy, a softer consistency than what you would cook it for regular eating (add vanilla essence or paste at this point)
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the sugar until well combined and slowly add the milky rice mixture one ladleful at a time- whisking the whole time. You are raising the temperature of the eggs as slowly as possible to avoid them cooking
4. Add the combined mixture back into the pot and put back on medium heat and stir until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
5. Dollop into serving dishes and chill
You can garnish with nuts or cinnamon, but I love it just as is
Happy cooking xx