So it goes without saying that I love rice pudding too.
But finding a rice pudding recipe that I love has taken some time...as in years. I'd try one from time to time but it was never quite right. After determinedly pouring over a bunch of recipes one day, I finally realized that most recipes are missing the eggs; and, in my opinion, it's the eggs that give a good rice pudding its rich, creamy taste and texture. Kind of like ice cream vs. gelato.
Made with eggs, milk and rice, THIS rice pudding packs a punch of protein for a breakfast treat on chilly mornings. I have to confess that I don't often make this for breakfast, because it does require about 20 minutes to prepare. (I don't always have that time in the mornings!) But I got up a bit early and made it just the other morning when the temperature had dipped oh so cold that night. There's nothing like a fresh-made bowl of warm, creamy goodness to fill empty tummies on chilly mornings! My oldest son literally licked his bowl clean after two large helpings.
This rice pudding recipe is just lightly sweetened, as I've kept the sugar content on the low side. It's plenty sweet for us, but if you are just starting your journey toward healthier eating and are used to sweeter foods, you may want to up the sucanat in the recipe initially (try a generous 1 cup) and then slowly decrease it as you adapt to less sugary treats.
One of the perks of rice pudding is that you can make it with leftover rice. Using up all your leftovers can stretch your food budget quite significantly. Throwing away food is throwing away money, and it all adds up faster than you think! That leftover rice (white or brown) that's sitting in your fridge? Bring new life to it by making rice pudding.
Creamy, Dreamy Rice Pudding
Leftover cooked rice (about 6 cups)*
6 cups milk, plus 1 cup milk
2/3 cup sucanat
Generous 1/3 cup organic cornstarch (I'd encourage you to buy organic to avoid GMO corn)
1 tsp almond extract or 2 tsp vanilla extract (or both!)
1-2 tsp unrefined salt, to taste
To a heavy bottomed large pot (like a Le Creuset dutch oven or brasier), add 6 cups of milk. Turn the heat to medium-low to start the milk warming. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sucanat and cornstarch. Once whisked together, add the remaining cup of milk and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
Return to the warming milk and raise the temperature to medium-high, whisking the milk continuously while it heats. Heat until the milk is steaming vigorously then lower the temperature back down to medium-low. Scoop 1 cup of the hot milk out and slowly pour it into the egg mixture, whisking. (This is called tempering and helps prevent clumps of cooked egg.) Repeat with one more cup of hot milk.
Add the rice to the hot milk and stir gently, allowing the rice to soften for a few minutes. Next, pour the egg mixture through a sieve into the hot milk, whisking. (The sieve will keep out any tiny bits of lumpy cornstarch or cooked egg.) Return the heat to medium-high and gently whisk the pudding while it heats and thickens. When the first sputter or bubble occurs, remove the pudding from the heat. As the pudding cools, it will thicken a bit more. Eat warm and soft (my favorite) or refrigerate and eat chilled.
* Don't be afraid to fudge the 6 cup number! Using up leftovers typically means we have random amounts, right? You'd be fine with as low as 4 cups and as high as 7ish cups, possibly even 8. The rice pudding will either be extra creamy or more rice-filled. Six is the "perfect" amount, but life isn't always perfect now, is it? ;)
** One more note about the leftover rice. It's best to use rice that's just a day old. As rice sits it hardens. If the rice is too old, it will be crunchy in your pudding—blech.
For more delicious and healthy whole foods recipes like this, check out my latest cookbook Whole Foods for the Everyday Cook, featuring over 100 recipes and even more photos!