favorite rice pudding
Are you a person who likes rice pudding? I kind of think everyone should be, though I guess we can still be friends if you don’t.
We like stovetop rice pudding—it’s easy and quick and doesn’t hog the oven. Spooned into ramekins and chilled in the fridge, it becomes a simple, sleekly comforting dessert fit for anyone. Anyone who likes rice pudding, that is.
Stovetop rice pudding
Start with two cups of cooked white long-grain rice. Put it into a three-quart saucepan and add 4 cups of milk, 1 cup heavy cream, and 1/2 cup of white sugar. Add any flavorings you want—I nearly always add a stick of cinnamon and a scraped vanilla bean—along with a pinch of salt, if your rice wasn’t salted to begin with. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook for half an hour or so, stirring occasionally, until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid and the pudding is thick and creamy. You’ll need to stir more frequently toward the end as the milk thickens and wants to burn.
Spoon into ramekins, cover exposed pudding directly with plastic wrap, and let cool. Rice pudding is good warm, at room temperature, or cold.
Ideas: Flavor the pudding with star anise, clove, allspice, or any other warm spice. Stir in a handful of currants just before taking the pudding off the heat. Top with chopped candied citrus peel, or toasted almonds. Brown some butter and trickle it over the top, or a spoonful of dulce de leche. Or cover the top of a chilled pudding with sugar and then brûlée it with a torch.
The 1/2 cup of sugar in this pudding makes for a distinctly but lightly sweet dessert, where the cream really comes forward. You can add up to 2/3 of a cup of sugar if you want something sweeter.
On milk: You can use any milk you want for this. Skim is fine, whole milk is fine. Whole milk will just be richer-feeling. You can cut the percentage of cream to milk if you want, but use at least 1/4 cup—you need it for mouthfeel and, well, creaminess.