Well dear readers, I did it…I ate rice pudding! That’s right, after a 15 year hiatus, I put aside my differences with lumpy puddin’ and consumed an entire bowl. Don’t you just love that word? No not pudding, puddin’. It reminds me of something Paula Dean would call her grandchildren. But back to the matter at hand…mainly that my Grandma’s rice pudding is pretty darn fantastic! It’s rich and creamy with this nutty warmth from the vanilla bursting out of every puffed-up grain of rice. Each bite is an indulgence. How could I have lived without this for so long? I mean I’m Norwegian; it’s in my Viking blood for goodness sake!
However, the piece de resistance was the raspberry citrus sauce I blissfully concocted to accompany my pudding. This one was all my own. I used fresh raspberry preserves provided by Karen, a family friend, and added some water, about a teaspoon or so of lemon zest and a splash of triple sec…just to jazz it up a bit. The slight acidity in the sauce provided a tangy compliment to the smooth, creamy pudding. Just be careful not to add too much water, I did that at first and had to stir in a mix of cornstarch and water to thicken it up a bit.
One thing to keep in mind regarding the pudding is that it is a very “patient” dish, which does not like to be rushed! In the event that you become restless and/or are driven crazy by the wonderful odor of warm milk&vanilla that will be wafting through your house you may be tempted to crank up the heat on your burner from a low simmer to a mild medium. Let this be your warning: If you adjust the heat to anything above low you will torch the poor little rice grains on the bottom of your pot and you will cause said pot to boil over, which will result in the not so lovely smell of burned milk&vanilla, which will cause you to freak out thinking you’ve burned the pudding. Lesson learned.
The pudding did take a longer than an hour to thicken-up, which resulted in this funny little dance where I would sporadically pop up from the couch (I was watching “The Bachelor”) (yes, I admit it, I do watch that show) and stir, stir, stir before running back to the living room with spoon in hand. But the extra attention paid off and my pudding was done in about 75 minutes.
And it was lovely! Just make sure you let it cool; no one likes a burned tongue.
Grandma Lulu’s rice pudding
To clear up any confusion between the above title and the recipe card featured in the above picture…my mom wrote the recipe, which is her mom’s recipe for rice pudding. Therefore, the particular “mom” in question is my Grandma Lulu who happens to make the best eggplant parmesan in the world. Hopefully that recipe is hidden somewhere in the recipe box too…
You will need:
2 quarts milk (any kind will do. I used 1%)
1 cup sugar
1 cup rice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a 3 quart saucepan. Yep, just throw it in there and stir around a bit. Bring the milky concoction up to a boil. Have a few sips of that wine you’ve been nursing, this may take a while.
Once you’re a boilin’ reduce the steamy goodness down to a simmer. For me this involves transferring my pot to the back burner, which I’ve been told is a “true simmer.” No two stoves are a like however, so this may not be the case for you.
Let everything meld for about an hour or so. Just be sure to stir every few minutes or else a not-so-lovely film will creep across the top of your saucepan. Soon, your pudding will be thick and wonderful. Transfer to a bowl and let it cool. Remember what I said above about burned tongues…Distribute between bowls, stir in some of that raspberry bliss (see recipe below) and give your lovely creation a dusting of cinnamon for flair. You can even say “Bam” like Emeril if you’d like. Don’t worry, I won’t tell.
Yield ~ approx. 6 servings
Raspberry Bliss Citrus Sauce
I’m sure this sauce would be even better with fresh raspberries. Unfortunately, those babies are a bit pricey right now since they’re out of season. Luckily I had a jar of raspberry preserves in the fridge and have decided they are a valid substitute since they themselves are made from fresh raspberries. Smucker’s might be okay, but splurge on the real deal if you can!
You will need:
1 cup raspberry preserves
¼ cup water
Zest from ½ a lemon
A splash of triple sec
Combine raspberry preserves and water in a small saucepan. Stir, stir, stir over low heat until bubbly. Add the grated lemon and a splash of triple sec. Revel in the use of margarita ingredients in your sauce. Stir, stir, stir some more until thick.
In case the sauce begins to boil even though you’re on “low,” move your pot over to the side of the flame; this should cool things down. If your sauce seems a bit thin, mix together 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl to form a paste and add slowly to the sauce. Put the sauce back on the burner and heat until it begins to thicken. Once the thickening commences, remove from heat and let cool. p.s. this stuff is really, really good so try to save some for your pudding!
Yield ~ 1 cup sauce or 8, 1/4 cup servings