There’s something purely comforting about rice pudding. I remember watching my mother make it over the years and I noticed that she never measured any of her ingredients. A bit of milk, a couple of eggs, a sprinkle of cinnamon and some sugar would all go into a bowl along with the rice. Not measuring ingredients wasn’t uncommon for my mother. I guess when you make a recipe over and over again, you get a feel for how much of everything you need to add.
My dad and I loved eating the rice pudding right after it came out of the oven. Funny thing though, my dad always added cream over the top and sometimes some sliced fruit. After I got married, I remember making rice pudding for my husband the way my mother made it and it totally surprised me when he told me he actually didn’t care for it.
His comment really shocked me and I stepped back and re-evaluated the recipe I had grown up with. My husband was right, mom’s recipe wasn’t great. Maybe that’s why my dad added extra cream and fruit.
I wasn’t ready to give up on rice pudding altogether. In fact, I thought it was a wonderfully delicious way to use up the extra cup or so of rice I usually had left over from a recipe. So, I was determined to figure out how to make a really great rice pudding and that’s where the fun began.
I knew the basic ingredients were going to stay pretty much the same; rice, milk, spices, vanilla, sugar and eggs. It was the preparation that was going to be different. My husband and I agree that we both love a rice pudding that is more of a custard which my mother’s definitely wasn’t. When researching different ways to make it, I discovered that setting the baking dish in a larger pan with hot water surrounding it (a water bath) was the way to achieve this.
Rice pudding is pure comfort food. It’s sweet and creamy and absolutely delicious. Baking the pudding in a water bath results in an extra creamy and smooth custard. I love adding raisins to my rice pudding and I don’t soak them ahead of time. Since the rice pudding takes almost an hour to bake and there’s plenty of liquid, the raisins soften perfectly.
As for the type of rice to use, use what you have. I mostly use basmati rice in my other recipes so that is the kind of rice that I usually use for rice pudding. This long grain rice will deliver a delicate texture and fragrance. Shorter grain rice, such as Arborio will give you a thicker pudding consistency.
For this Rice Pudding For One, I use a 5-inch Le Creuset Baking Dish. It’s the perfect size dish if you’re cooking for one. You could also use a ramekin of a similar size.
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup cooked rice
- whipped cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter a 5-inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and vanilla.
Stir in the rice.
Spoon into prepared dish. Place baking dish in a medium-sized pan. Pour water into the pan to a depth of 1-inch. Bake for 55 minutes or until lightly browned and set.
Cool slightly and top with whipped cream, if desired.