I think Saturday is going to shortly become my recipe-posting day, meaning I have to come up with a food-related word beginning with S (Salty Saturday? Salivating Saturday? erm, that one’s a bit yuck). Luckily this one fits perfectly under Slacker Saturday because I have no pictures and this recipe is all about never having to leave the house.
It’s actually a beautiful day here in Wellington, and rice pudding is winter food; snuggly food; I-just-got-off-an-airplane-having-been-on-it-for-like-36-hours-and-I-have-a-horrible-cold-and-it’s-the-middle-of-winter food, that last set of circumstances being those under which I first jiggled this rice pudding recipe together. I wanted something I wouldn’t have to leave the house to make; something, frankly, I’d have to leave my *bed* as little as possible to make, so it had to be a boiled pudding rather than a baked one; something soothing and not overly-flavoured, without being dull. Not all that necessary on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in early autumn. But I’ve been craving this recipe all week, since the day I got caught in a rainstorm and showed up at work sodden, and today I finally had time to make it.
Best Rice Pudding
Or my favourite, anyway.
3/4 of a cup rice
1 1/2 cups water
pinch of salt
1 cup cream
3 cups milk
1 vanilla bean
1 cinnamon quill
Zest of half an orange
1/2 cup of sugar
A note on substitutions
I am ALL about substitutions in this recipe, because the “don’t leave your house” principle requires a flexible attitude. Here are some comments and subs for these ingredients:
Rice: I use arborio rice, if I have it. But you can make rice pudding with about any kind of rice. I’ve even seen recipes calling for basmati rice.
Cream: If you don’t have cream, this recipe tastes perfectly grand using four cups of whole milk, although it will be a little thinner until it’s cooled a little. However, it still tastes really rich.
Orange zest: Easiest way to get this is to use a potato peeler, by the way. You could certainly substitute lemon zest here, probably also tangerine or hell, mandarin. I don’t know what effect using lime zest would have, but I sort of want to.
Vanilla bean: Vanilla beans are very dear, especially if you buy them from the supermarket – this is because it takes like eleven years to produce one. There’s no reason not to substitute a teaspoon of vanilla essence here. If you do decide to go with beans, you can avoid leaving your house (and save a ton of money) by buying them off TradeMe – I had a very good experience with willyow last time (oh gosh, browsing their listings, they sell dutch cocoa powder too – sighhhhh!) US readers can get them even more cheaply – frankly obscenely cheaply – on eBay.
Cinnamon stick: Cinnamon sticks are more affordable but if you don’t have them in your pantry – a teaspoon of ground cinnamon will do.
Sugar: Hey, brown sugar would probably be really tasty in this. Honey or maple syrup, too.
1. In a large-ish pot, bring the rice, salt, and water to boil. Turn it right down, bung the lid on, and let simmer until the water has almost all absorbed.
2. Zest the orange. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds (ESSENTIAL for the I-am-a-food-snob-see-these-vanilla-seeds look), adding all to the pot. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Let cook, stirring every ten minutes for the first twenty minutes and every five minutes thereafter, for forty minutes to an hour – until the pudding reaches the appropriate consistency (the time it takes to do this will depend on how fatty your milk is and, obviously, how you like your rice pudding).
3. Remove the zest and throw it away. Wash and dry the vanilla bean and cinnamon quill – you can use these again. A nice thing to do with the bean is grind it up and let sit in a jar with some sugar for a couple days to make vanilla sugar.
4. Pour or ladle into a bowl depending on how classy you’re feeling. Eat watching television.