I just spent the week in the Poconos Mountains in Northeastern PA. When we planned the trip we envisioned hiking through the mountains, canoeing on the Delaware, and enjoying the great outdoors. And then we got rained on. A lot. There was major flooding in the region, and we had to drive through 2 feet of water on the road to get to our destination. Let me tell you, all of that rain and cold weather made me wish for some warm comfort food. And rice pudding is just the ticket!
Thick. Rich. Creamy. Delicious. These are words that describe this simple rice pudding. The recipe is from my trusty America's Test Kitchen, and they have not failed me. I was a bit skeptical as to whether or not it would end up creamy and rich without the addition of an egg, but was it ever. The flavors were spot on, with the rice coming out as the star.
The finished product took me about an hour and 45 minutes, and we ate it when it was still pretty warm. With that amount of time invested, it had better be worth it. And I actually think it was. I've had many different rice puddings in my day, but this one is definitely at the top. I honestly don't think I would change anything about the recipe. Oh, and just a tip - when they say to use a 3 quart pan or larger, listen. I was amazed at how large the batch was, especially considering that you only use one cup of rice. My 5 quart Le Creuset worked perfectly for me.
Simple Stovetop Rice Pudding
from America's Test Kitchen
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2 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup medium-grain rice
2 1/2 cups whole milk *
2 1/2 cups half-and-half *
2/3 c sugar
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan (at least 3 quarts). Stir in the salt and rice; cover and simmer over low heat, stirring once or twice, until the water is almost fully absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the milk, half-and-half, and sugar. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, uncovered and stirring frequently, until the mixture starts to thicken, about 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook, stirring every couple of minutes to prevent sticking and scorching, until a spoon is just able to stand up in the pudding, about 15 minutes longer.
Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, 1/2 cup raisins, and 1 tsp ground cinnamon. Cool and serve at room temperature or chilled. (To store, press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding and refrigerate for up to 2 days.)
* When a recipe calls for varying amounts of dairy products, rather than making a trip to the store, I use what I have on hand and mix until I have the right consistency. For instance, I only had 1% milk and heavy cream on hand for this recipe, so I used 3 cups of 1% milk and 2 cups of heavy cream to get the right mix. I just kind of do what makes sense in my head.