While I was visiting my family in New Mexico last week, I came across a recipe for rice pudding. My mom and grandmother said that they liked it, but sister said she’s never cared for it, because it’s…rice. For dessert. I had never tried it, but I wanted to make a dessert (without guar gum or anything else weird) that my gluten-intolerant grandmother could eat, so I gave rice pudding a try.
And it was good, but it was definitely…rice. For dessert. That ain’t right. My mom and grandmother liked it. My dad was unsure at first, so he scooped out just a few spoonfuls for himself and then came back for more after he established that it was good. I seemed to be the only one unconvinced on the rice pudding. It had a lot of good traits – sweet, creamy, a bit nutty. But you know what else it had? Grains of rice floating in it. That ain’t right.
Simple Stovetop Rice Pudding (from Cooks Illustrated September 1996)
Serves 6 to 8
CI note: We prefer pudding made from medium-grain rice, but long-grain is perfectly acceptable if that’s what you happen to have on hand.
Bridget note: I used long-grained rice.
¼ teaspoon table salt
1 cup medium-grain rice (white), or long grain white rice
2½ cups whole milk
2½ cups half-and-half
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Bring 2 cups water to boil in large, heavy-bottomed pot (at least 3 quarts) or small soup kettle (4 to 5 quarts). Stir in salt and rice; cover and simmer over low heat, stirring once or twice until water is almost fully absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Add milk, half-and-half and sugar. Increase heat to medium-high to bring to simmer, then reduce heat to maintain simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until mixture starts to thicken, about 30 minutes. Reduce 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.
3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Cool and serve at room temperature or chilled. (Can be covered with plastic wrap on surface of pudding and then refrigerated up to 2 days.)