Rice pudding is easy to forget about. It's sort of a sleeper dessert. If it were an Oscar contender, it'd be The Artist. If it were a character on Downton Abbey, it'd be Edith, the middle daughter. (Yes, we're watching. And we're obsessed.) If it were a Beatle, it'd be George. (Obviously, if Ringo were a dessert he'd be something more like this.)
Rice pudding is Jan Brady.
Which, of course, isn't fair. Rice pudding is warm and comforting, and it's easy to make. Scented with cinnamon and other spices, it's the perfect treat on a chilly winter night.
And this recipe from Cooking Light has us sitting up and taking notice. More than two years ago, we asked ourselves why we weren't eating more rice pudding. But, well, we keep forgetting about it. Not any more. This rice pudding may just be our new favorite winter dessert.
We suppose the greatest charge against rice pudding is that it's bland. But this dessert -- flecked with coconut and fragrant notes of cinnamon and cardamom -- is full of great flavors. And it's topped with crushed pistachios for a nice bit of crunch.
The pudding is easy to make. Once you've cooked your rice, you make a quick custard and then fold the rice into it. One note on the rice: The recipe calls for instant rice, but we didn't have any on hand and couldn't find any at the two corner markets near us. We cooked regular long-grain rice as instructed on the package, and then proceeded with the recipe as written. It worked out just fine.
So now we're dreaming up other rice puddings, and thinking about all the spices and mix-ins lurking in our cabinets that may make for delicious puddings.
Rice pudding, it turns out, is a total Marcia!
Are you a rice pudding fan or foe? Tell us about it in the comments.
Yield: Serves 6 (serving size: 1/2 cup pudding and 1/2 teaspoon pistachios)
Tips and Notes from Zach and Clay of The Bitten Word:
- This recipe calls for instant rice, but we didn't have any on hand, so we used regular rice, cooking it as instructed on the package and then proceeded with step 2 below.
1 cup water
1 cup uncooked instant rice
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk, divided
2 large egg yolks
1 cup light coconut milk
1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon chopped pistachios
Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in rice; cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat; uncover. Set aside.
Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl.
Combine 1/4 cup milk and yolks in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add sugar mixture to milk mixture, stirring with a whisk until blended.
Bring remaining 1 1/4 cups milk and coconut milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Gradually add hot milk mixture to yolk mixture, stirring with a whisk. Return milk mixture to pan. Bring to a boil, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in cooked rice, coconut, and next 3 ingredients (through cardamom). Top with pistachios.