Friday fluff on this oh-so-cold December day.
Wait, it's February? huh. Couldn't really tell with the freakin' blizzard going on outside the window...
So to celebrate the never-ending dump of snow that's currently attempting to bury my car, I'm offering up a specimen of the dreaded "white foods" category. Rice pudding is the ultimate simple comfort food. I can remember my mother making it when we were sick, so it has warm-cozy associations for me. It's very mild, so it can finish off almost any meal, but very filling so a little goes a long way. It can be served warm or cold, and is almost as good either way. I'll work on developing a vegan version using soy milk and tofu, but if anyone beats me to it feel free to share!
3 cups milk (whole milk will make it richer)
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup raisins (optional, and mix up with dates, almonds, pecans, and/or coconut as it suits you)
1/3 cup butter
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup raw white rice
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp (approx) nutmeg, or one whole nutmeg for grating.
(mmm....freshly grated nutmeg......)
Combine rice with 2 cups of regular milk in the top of a double-boiler or in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook over hot water in double-boiler or in microwave on high until rice is tender (approx 30-45 minutes, could be longer depending on heat).
Add raisins/dates/nuts/etc. and butter, stir until butter melts
Combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, 1 cup of regular milk and sweetened condensed milk and whisk until blended.
Stir into hot rice mixture.
Pour into greased cake pan (9" square pan for single batch, 9"x12" rectangle for double batch) or 2-quart casserole dish (uncovered).
Sprinkle or grate nutmeg over top
Bake in 350 F oven for 45 minutes or until a butter knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool/set up for about 10 minutes and serve warm, or chill in refrigerator and serve cold. This recipe can be fancied-up by serving in individual wine glasses, or even baked in individual ramekins. It's a common dessert to serve with Indian food, and finishes almost any spicy meal well. Like I said, it's filling. Last time I made a single batch it fed about 8 people with a bowl or so left over. Then again, the leftovers are oh-so-good.
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