Rice pudding is my idea of comfort food. I don’t like rice. I don’t like heated milk. But I do love the concoction that comes out of mixing the two.
Isn’t that odd?
Rice pudding will be the only rice dish that I eat without constantly thinking to myself that it’s rice, and how much I don’t like rice. I like it hot. I like it cold. I like it in the pot. I like it nine days old.
Just kidding. Although I have eaten leftovers up to a couple days, where it had formed ice crystals from being stored in the back of the fridge. And I still ate it.
There’s this little diner-like place in Dorval, Quebec, near Montreal, and near where I live during the school year. It’s conveniently called Dorval Deli. It serves almost everything you would ever want to eat, except Chinese. Everything from pancakes to pizza to pasta to lamb chops to steak to gyros to…everything you’d possibly want. Cheap. Not fussy. Perfect for college students. With their dishes they include soup, bread, and dessert. Soup of the day, white roll with prepackaged butter pats. Like I said, not fussy. Dessert is the choice between jello and rice pudding, most of the time. Rice pudding, which is what we order, most of the time. There was this one time when the waitress happily told us that they had apple cake. So of course we all jumped at the chance to order it. When the dessert arrives we all dig in. After two minutes of munching in silence we individually realized something, but no one would speak up. Finally, one girl in the group said, “this doesn’t taste like apples.” Of course not. It was a slice of banana cake.
Next time at the Deli, it was back to the good old rice pudding.
Before eating there, I’d never really tried rice pudding. Since I thought it was rice plus hot milk. Yuck. Then the Deli changed my mind. Their pudding is okay, what had attracted me at first was the dusting of cinnamon on the top. The cinnamon was good. Lightly spicy and sweet, it broke my fear of rice pudding.
So I started to make my own pudding at home, and became semi-addicted. There is nothing better when you’re bogged down by all the specific demands of life. This is a butterscotch version, made with brown sugar and a touch more vanilla extract. Feel free to have your pudding snow white by replacing the brown sugar with white. Another note, this recipe contains egg, which I find gives the creamiest texture for rice puddings. I’ve tried it both ways, eggless recipes just can’t top the creamy pudding consistency of this recipe.
Creamy Butterscotch Rice Pudding
adapted from Allrecipes
makes enough for 4, or 1, in my case
3/4 cups uncooked white rice (I’ve used jasmine and arborio; jasmine is fragrant, arborio is woodsy)
2 cups milk, divided
1/3 cup brown sugar, or less if you prefer
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. butter
In a saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil and add the rice. Stir, lower the heat (medium low), and let simmer for 20 minutes. Check the tenderness of the rice. This is important, because once you add the sugar, the rice grains stop getting softer. So make sure you like the texture of the rice before proceeding with the recipe.
Add the brown sugar, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of the milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for 15 minutes, until the milk is absorbed and the pudding is creamy. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup milk with the beaten egg. Add to pot and quickly stir in. Cook another few minutes until the mixture becomes thick. Add butter and vanilla. Serve warm or chilled. Press plastic wrap on top of the pudding if you plan to chill it. This will prevent a skin from forming on top.
Forgo the fancy serving dishes and just grab your farvourite spoon and a friend (to watch you eat). Here’s mine.