Monday, September 30, 2013

Comfort Classic: Rice Pudding

There are at least two predicaments we commonly run into in our kitchen.  One, we have Chinese takeout and end up with a big container of rice that sits in the refrigerator until it is as hard as a rock and we end up throwing it away a week later.  Two, we have a serious dessert craving.  We want something sweet, but have neither the ingredients nor the energy to start a labor-intensive process that will end in exhaustion and a destroyed kitchen.  When these two predicaments coincide, it brings forth opportunity -- in the form of luscious, decadent, creamy rice pudding.

Rice pudding is one of those things that takes me straight back to my childhood the minute I take a bite.  I don't remember the first time my mom made rice pudding, but I can definitely visualize her standing over the stove, stirring and dashing cinnamon into a pot that smelled absolutely heavenly.  To me, rice pudding smells like love.  It warms you from the inside out.  Yeah, some people like it cold, but they're wrong.  Warm is the way to go!  There are varieties that are baked and have eggs in the mix to make the pudding more custardy, but I just love the stove-top version because that is what I always had growing up (Thanks Mom!).  Plus, it is super simple and makes far fewer dishes than the oven-baked variety.  While my mom usually started with uncooked rice, I like to take the shortcut of using cooked rice, because, well, I'm impatient.  With cooked rice, this becomes a wonder dessert that is ready in less than 15 minutes.  Go forth - make it.  You won't be sorry.

15-Minute Rice Pudding
Printable Recipe

3 c. white rice, cooked
1 c. almond milk
2 c. whole milk
2/3 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. butter
3/4 c. raisins
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
3/4 tsp. cinnamon

In a large sauce pot or dutch oven, combine rice, almond milk, whole milk, sugar and butter.  Add raisins, vanilla and almond extract.  Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Turn heat down to medium-low and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.  Stir in cinnamon.

Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.  However, if you serve it chilled, we are no longer friends ;-)  Enjoy!

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