Thursday, February 25, 2010

Creamy Rice Pudding

Phew! What a day! After completing a long day at work and an equally long session at the gym, I ran to the store to pick up a few ingredients to make something which the idea of had been taunting me the past few cold February days. Rice Pudding. Now, something you should know about me and rice pudding -- I discovered it, literally, within the past year when I tried it at a restaurant in my hometown. The Artist's Cafe is located downtown and besides being a great restaurant, it serves rice pudding as a dessert with their lunch specials. Free & Dessert are two words that, when put together, I immediately say 'yes, please.'

So, with that in mind, I set about to make what the cookbook said was a 43-minute dessert. This recipe definitely tried my patience. It ended up taking double that time. In fact, at the 43rd minute, I was staring at this:
Things moved fairly quickly after about an hour of soaking and it finally began to look like this:
For some reason the rice took about thirty minutes longer to soak up the milk and then a little longer to finish soaking up the yolk/sugar/cinnamon mixture. But, in the end, it was a bowlful of goodness.
If you don't like raisins, by all means, leave them out. I actually did have a moment of "oh-no!-did-I-just-ruin-this?" when I dumped them in the pot. But they do add a nice touch to the dish -- I guess someone knew what they were talking about when they figured rice pudding and raisins go together like peas and carrots.

How I spent my evening:

MacBook: check. Warm and delicious dessert: check.

Creamy Rice Pudding
modified from this guy
I made the low fat version by using 1% milk and fat free half-and-half. I am not sure if that is why it took twice as long but, nonetheless, I thought it tasted just as delicious.

1 quart milk (here, I'll save you a google search: 1 quart = 4 cups)
1 cup uncooked rice (The original recipe calls for medium grain but I swear that is a conspiracy because in Aisle 4 of my Harris Teeter there was long grain and short grain but no medium grain. I used long grain.)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 egg yolks, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup raisins

Combine first four ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cover and cook over low heat until rice is tender, stirring occasionally. (This took me about an hour and ten minutes -- the original recipe said 40 minutes. Perhaps it was because of the altitude? I do live on the third floor . . .)
Combine egg yolks and next three ingredients in a small bowl. Gradually stir about 1/4 of the hot mixture into yolk mixture; add yolk mixture to remaining hot mixture.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches 160 degrees and is thickened and bubbly (this took me about ten minutes, the original recipe said 3). Stir in raisins. Serve warm or chilled. Yields 10 servings.

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