If you are looking for a quick, easy and delicious dessert recipe that doesn’t call for over the top ingredients, then a rice pudding recipe is what you need. Although we all enjoy cheesecakes, truffles, and sundaes, a humble, memory-jogging rice pudding is something we all crave from time to time. What’s there not to love? It is satiating, pretty healthy (unless you go overboard with sugar), and what’s more important, it leaves room for experimenting. This is why these past few years have been marked by a craze for rice pudding that took people over and is still very present today.
Rice Pudding History
Although we now know it as the dish of the masses, there was a time when rice pudding was a dessert fit to satisfy royal palates. Before realizing that it can be mass produced, rice was a very expensive import, which meant regular fellas didn’t have access to it. Rice pudding recipes date back to 1390. In The Forme of Cury, the earliest surviving collection of recipes in England there was a mention of rice pottage originally made with salt and broth, ingredients that the modern version discards, replacing them with water and sugar respectively.
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The very first rice pudding recipe that called for sugar is recorded in the 15th century Austin manuscripts, and later recipes also called for eggs, currants, cinnamon, suet, and barberries. These were the 17th-century rice pudding mentions by John Murell in A Newe Booke of Cookery (1615) and Robert May The Accomplisht Cook (1660). The latter enriches the recipe for dates and powdered coriander seeds. A very interesting feature of these puddings is the fact that they were served in sausage skins. This, in turn, meant they had to be roasted or fried before serving.
These early recipes called for Arborio rice, a type whose place is taken up by pudding rice in today’s recipes. If you care to know more about the rice types, their shapes and sizes you can read more about it in the blog post on Risotto Recipes – Do’s and Don’ts.
What Constitutes a Rice Pudding
It is stunning how many countries have their own take on rice pudding. Although they might have specific names other than pudding, they are essentially rice puddings. In fact, there are some ingredients that are uniting for all of the different rice pudding varieties and they include the following:
It wouldn’t be called a rice pudding if it didn’t call for rice. As for the varieties, we already mentioned that the 17th-century recipes called for the Arborio type, but there are also people who have used basmati rice and swear by its sweet aroma. Recipes also call for brown, black or jasmine rice.
The classic choice, though, and the cheapest, for that matter, is the pudding rice. It is called pudding rice for a reason. It is short-grain and its shape allows for the best results when paired with the milk in puddings.
The recipe mentioned in The Forme of Cury called the Ryse of Flesh called for almond milk, which means that vegans can enjoy this tasty dessert as well. (Of course, suet is out of the picture, and a vegan butter should be used instead). Coconut milk can also be used and it renders a specific aroma that coconut lovers will find especially inviting. Whole milk and especially cream milk and evaporated milk are very useful if you want a plate of creamy rice pudding.
FLAVORINGS AND TOPPINGS
One thing that we love rice puddings for is the fact that their flavor can be enhanced by adding many different spices and flavorings. Among the most commonly used spices are cinnamon (a worldwide favorite), but also cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, etc. Flavor can be added by implementing lemon and orange zest, rose water, or by adding nuts like almonds, pistachios, cashews, and walnuts, however, the most typically used flavoring is vanilla.
National Rice Pudding Recipe Variations
As we already mentioned, there are more rice pudding varieties than one can wrap one’s head around. They can vary in the method of preparation (baked or boiled), the type of rice they call for, and the different ingredients they can be paired with. The list goes on and on, but we have selected several national rice pudding varieties that we found the most interesting ones to share with you.
The rice pudding that comes from this incredible island country is also incredible! Made with rice and cocoa powder, one can only imagine how good it is. The champorado or tsampurado is a chocolate rice pudding made with glutinous rice (known as sticky or waxy rice), coconut powder, sugar, and milk. The result is a brownish pudding served usually at “merienda”, the equivalent to the English tea-time. An interesting fact is that it is commonly served together with salty dried fish known as tuyo.
Riz à l’impératrice is a molded version of rice pudding in the French cuisine. It is basically rice pudding mixed with Bavarian cream. All is set in a charlotte mold then turned upside down and decorated with candied fruits macerated in alcohol. The alcohol can be kirsch or maraschino, and the fruits can be anything from raisins to dry cherries.
The rice pudding that became popularized at village festivals in Lower Normandy is now a staple in households in this region. Although the ingredients are the same as any rice pudding’s (rice, milk, sugar, cinnamon) and the manner of preparation is not odd at all (baked in an earthenware terrine for several hours) there is one thing that makes teurgoule stand out. This is the annual Teurgoule cooking competition with members wearing ceremonial robes in green and orange colors, the “brotherhood” holds on to the best recipe. Who would have thought such mystery revolved around a dish as simple as rice pudding?
An interesting fact about the rice pudding in Sweden is it is made from rice porridge, a dish consumed as both breakfast and dinner. The porridge is served warm and it is basically rice cooked in milk. This porridge is then mixed with whipped cream and sweetened with sugar, sprinkled with cinnamon and enhanced with a small knob of butter to constitute the rice pudding. A well-known Swedish variant is called apelsinris (since it contains oranges).
Risalamande (from French riz à l’amande, rice with almonds) is the rice pudding popular in Denmark. Actually, a custom unique to Scandinavia associated with Christmas is hiding a whole almond in the rice porridge or pudding. Of course, the one who finds it will be lucky the whole year, and the others will simply enjoy a nice dessert at Julefrokost (Christmas lunch).
Boiled Rice Pudding
For this section, we have chosen to give you a Turkish staple: Sütlaç. The Turkish rice pudding is a light dessert that will be done in only an hour. Here’s what to do in order to get 8 servings of pure creamy awesomeness.
1 1/2 cups pudding rice
1 cup water
7 cups milk
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon of powdered vanilla
1 tablespoon cornstarch
In a medium-large pot, pour the water and the rice with the lid on while cooking. Cook the rice until the water evaporates. Then pour the milk, leaving half a cup aside so that you can dissolve the cornstarch in it. Stir the cornstarch (which will ensure a less soggy pudding) and powdered vanilla in and cook everything over medium heat until the milk begins to boil. Bring the heat to low and boil for 15 minutes on low fire. Serve cold sprinkled with cinnamon.
Baked Rice Pudding
The baked version of this dish is preferred by many people. So, here is one simple recipe for a classic baked rice pudding that will be enough to serve 5.
1/2 cup pudding rice
2 cups milk
1 cup light cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the rice for 5 minutes in a large pot of boiling water. Proceed to rinse under running water and drain. In a separate pan combine the milk, the cream, the vanilla, and the orange zest and cinnamon. Bring everything to a boil and stir. Turn off the heat and add the butter and the sugar. Let it sit for around 15 minutes in order to cool and then add the rice to the milk mixture. Pour everything into a baking dish and bake for around an hour and 15 minutes making sure you stir after 45 minutes.
The Best Rice Pudding Recipes
We have also selected a variety of different rice pudding recipes that have proven to cause jaw-dropping reactions. And yes, this refers to both their taste and their appearance. So, get ready for a firework of flavors and textures!
These tarts prove that a crusty pastry filled with a nice rice pudding and juicy cherries is all you need for a perfect dessert. Ok that, and some slivered almonds on top! Brace yourselves for an avalanche of compliments and lots of happy faces!
Dried cherries and crunchy almonds pair together to enhance the flavor of this pudding. The fact that it contains almond and vanilla flavors makes our taste buds dance, and after trying it, we assure you, yours will too!
Much as the variety we described above, this French rice pudding is a molded version of sweet pudding with an irresistible outside crisp and a meltingly soft inside. Thick, creamy and sweet, now that;s what we call a real treat!
If you want a little tartness to freshen things up, go ahead and try this rice pudding recipe. With dried cranberries and chopped pistachios, it sure going to become your family’s favorite!
Raisins and cherries combined with ricotta cheese make up the creamiest, most flavorful comfort food you have ever tried! With every bite of this homey, sweet, and smooth dessert you will travel further down memory lane, back to when your only worry was to eat more of it than your siblings did!
Go ahead and prepare yourselves a bowl of rice pudding, not only will you be continuing a long going tradition, but you will get the chance to win over any dessert lover’s heart.