Saturday, 30 July 2011

Creamy Rice Pudding

I like to think that I'm fairly resourceful in the kitchen, particularly when it comes to not wasting food. This week I ended up with a surplus of milk because the family had gone holiday and forgotten to cancel the order. So, by Thursday I hadn't even opened Monday's milk. And what's the best and easiest way to use up as much milk as possible? Rice pudding. All it requires is a few extra store cupboard ingredients and a few hours in the oven.  
Rice pudding is one of those desserts that can be teamed up with any number of additional treats. Flicking through my cookbooks I came across 'Rice pudding with butterscotch apples' in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's The River Cottage Year (my neighbour passed over apples, from his apple tree, I could've used for this - unfortunately it was not until after I made, and eaten, the rice pudding). Other choice toppings can include jam, fresh fruit, honey, maple syrup and chocolate. There are typically two ways of making rice pudding: boiling and baking. Both can produce tasty results but baking creates a golden-brown skin on top, adding extra texture to the dish.

With rice being the main staple of half the world's population, it's not surprising rice pudding is found around the world. And it's not only served as a dessert but as a savoury dish. In Iceland they add a type of blood sausage and in Mexico they use tequila soaked fruit.   Typically, short- or medium-grain rice such as Aborio or paella rice is used because of it's high starch content which, when released through cooking, creates a creamy texture - as it does in  Spanish paella dishes and Italian risotto dishes. Though this varies depending where in the world it's being made. 
My choice of flavourings for this particular dish was mixed spice and blueberries. Taken fresh from the garden, my blueberry bush has finally started to provide a decent amount of fruit. The first summer it produced one blueberry and the following summer provided us with two (though I suspect birds may have something to do with this). This year we chose to reposition the bush near the house, which seems to have kept the birds away. 

Rice Pudding

Adapted from The River Cottage Year by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Serves 6

50g     butter
100g    Aborio or other short-grain rice
1 litre semi-skimmed milk*
50g     caster sugar
1/2 tsp mixed spice

*For extra richness this can be substituted for 50/50 milk and cream

Preheat the oven Gas Mark 3 (160C) 

In an ovenproof pan, slowly melt the butter. Stir in the rice and ensure it's all coated with the butter. Add the milk and sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, sprinkle the mixed spice over the top and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake for 2 1/2 hours. 
If you want to really get the golden-brown skin on top of the rice pudding, turn the oven up to Gas Mark 4 or 5 for the last 20 minutes (or use the grill). 

Adding some vanilla
Melting chocolate into it
Stirring in nuts and fruit


  1. I discovered this recipe also in my copy of the same book (it's a great book). I have substituted a small tin of evaporated milk made up to 500 ml with water for 50% of the milk (using whole milk for the other 500ml). It was delicious. And (dare I say it) not dissimilar from a tin of Ambrosia creamed rice, which I like....

  2. Interesting to know how someone else has adapted the same recipe. Nothing at all wrong with liking Ambrosia :)