In recent times, I’ve neglected the food blogging a little – there are at least three episodes of Pudding club to record for posterity. My diet has been a completely unhealthy mix of not cooking for myself and not eating the expensive Misery Pouches which are beginning to build up into a huge avalanche of misery in boxes in the pantry.
But before we go into all that, first, a little treatise on Rice Pudding.
I haven’t made this for Pudding Club, because when canvassing for views on rice pudding there, it transpired that at least half of the regular attendees did not like it, with poor memories of school dinner stodge as their reasoning.
That said, I have cooked and eaten two rice puddings of the “serves four” variety myself this past week.
And there are two myths of rice pudding that I’d like to scotch today, and for both, my thanks to Nigel Slater’s “Real Fast Puddings“:
It takes forever to cook
Slater includes Rice Pudding in a book whose raison d’être is about puddings that take less than 30 minutes to get to table. Most people see rice pudding as something that needs two hours in the oven, but it’s perfectly possible to make it on the stove top in 20 minutes, much like a risotto.
Slater’s basic recipe is half a pint of full cream milk, half a pint of cream, butter, 8 tablespoons of pudding or risotto rice, 4 tablespoons of sugar, 6 tbsp water, a vanilla pod.
Boil the rice gently on the stove top with all but the sugar and butter until the rice is cooked and the liquid absorbed. Remove the vanilla podd, add the sugar and “no more than an ounce” of butter and stir over the heat until both are dissolved, serve.
It doesn’t need stirring as much as you’d think to prevent it sticking, provided you have it on a really gentle heat.
Whilst unsurprisingly it’s not quite so amazingly creamy, you can also make a moderately more healthy version with plain milk and no butter or cream.
Slater even has a technique for getting a skin on a ricepudding that has been made on the stovetop, but you will have to use the link above to buy the book for yourself to be let into the secret.
It has to be plain
Another myth is that rice pudding is just rice, cream, sugar and no depth of flavour.
Again, Slater has interesting things to do with rice pudding to make it more tasty, including flavouring the milk with rose- or orangewater, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, pistachio or orange zest and juice as well as the more traditional dollop of jam.
I’m also mulling over a coffee/chocolate flavoured version. (I’m a complete sucker for coffee flavoured desserts, but don’t cook them too often as P is a caffeine refusenik.)
The second version of the pudding I made myself this week, was an oven based recipe, but one that had a good blast on the stovetop before being baked, meaning that the oven time was reduced to 30 minutes. It was a version of the recipe from the Kwiksave “BBE 2006” packet of pudding rice, and was particularly evil, calorie-wise.
It needed 110 grams pudding rice, pint full milk, half a pint cream, quite a lot of sugar. It got you to boil all that on the stove top for 10 minutes, then allow to cool before beating in 3 eggs and finishing off in a buttered dish in an oven at 150 deg C.
I flavoured it with everything in the kitchen I could throw at it, by first simmering the milk with cardamom, spices like ginger, cinnamon and mace, and orange zest and saffron. Then I sieved the milk and carried on as per recipe.
If you are going to add eggs for richness, I think 3 is over the top for this quantity. The finished pudding was rather too much scrambled egg to be worth sharing with anyone else. Still delicious. And it certainly seems to have been edible to people in this household who profess not to like rice pudding.