Dark days have rooted and coldness moored to cadaver of the past season. It is in this bitter time that I love to return to the foods of my childhood. None more so reliable, or simple or generous than the plump mellow creamy indulgence of a warm rice pudding on a wintry night. I recently made this last week, for my BFF while she was cursing and nursing a furious gastrobug and with the cold snap in full force tonight I feel compelled to celebrate this humble pudding.
75g short grain rice, preferably Arborio
25g caster sugar
600ml full fat milk
Heat the oven to 150°C.
Using an oven proof pan (you’ll need a lid later too) melt butter at a low temperature, but take care not to let it transform into a beurre noisette.
Once melted stir in the sugar, rice and milk. Allow to bubble but not boil and stir well.
Cover with the lid and place in the oven for 90 minutes, remembering to stir at 30 minute intervals to ensure an even consistency.
After 90 minutes remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Note: The dimensions of your pan and the idiosyncrasies of your oven will make for distinctions in final cooking time and pudding consistency. You can counter this by adding milk or cooking time.
Variations: Heart stopping super deluxe version replace milk with double cream or try half cream and half milk for a compromise. I also like to flavour mine with vanilla; the real deal is best for flavour and aesthetics; don’t skimp on using Vanilla Bean Paste over real pods as the former process results in weighting the seeds so they tend to sink to the bottom of the pudding. This recipe offers four portions; double the quantities and cooking time for a party proportions. It’s sweet enough by itself, but also delicious with jam or with a caramelized sugar topping.
When you make this, you’ll be rewarded with wonderful warm wafts of creamy and buttery notes. As you take your first spoonful you’ll remember, that only on nights as cold as tonight can you really savour the exquisite comfort and tender condolence of a humble rice pudding.