It seems most cultures around the world have some form of creamy rice pudding, and not only one type of rice pudding, but many.
The thing I like about this particular recipe is the subtlety of flavors and a very creamy rice pudding.
I cook it much like one would when making a risotto, with the gradual addition of the liquid so the rice slowly absorbs the milk and cream, which contributes to a creamy rice pudding.
The key is to cook it slowly and to be patient.
If you can do those two things, you will be rewarded.
I didn’t know this until now but apparently National Rice Pudding day is August 9th, not every food has its own day, which just shows the importance of the modest dessert.
In Sweden and Finland, a whole almond is placed in one of the rice pudding bowls, where tradition says that whoever gets the almond in their pudding will be married by the next year.
In China this rice dish is seen more as a porridge and less of a sweet pudding.
I have to say I love the Chinese rice porridge congee served in many Asian countries.
Congee of course is not sweet but is flavored with many savory flavors such as soy sauce, peanuts, onions etc.
In the ancient times when kings and queens ruled Europe, rice was an expensive import found mostly in the kitchens of the kings and queens.
It was mostly used to make pottages, so thick soups or stews and was not sweet, but more like a side dish that might resemble a risotto.
It looks like it wasn’t until the 15th century that sugar was introduced to create the beginnings of what we think of when we think of today’s rice pudding.
Early in their evolution these sweet rice puddings with sugar, currents, berries among other things would be put into sausage skin and served that way.
A far cry from today, when we don’t associate sausage with dessert.
I remember fondly my grandmother’s creamy rice pudding, she always added slivered almonds and raisins that added sweetness and crunch.
I used to sit on the porch of my grandparent’s house in Jerusalem with my extended family and we’d all be eating our desserts quietly savoring the flavors.
No one said very much, we’d just sit as a family having our after dinner dessert, enjoying being together.
I miss those simpler days when a creamy rice pudding was the highlight of the day.
There is something nice about the simple things in life.
The feeling immortalized by A.A. Milne in a poem “What is the matter with Mary Jane? She’s perfectly well and hasn’t a pain, and it’s lovely rice pudding for dinner again!”
Go ahead and make this recipe your own and create your very own family creamy rice pudding.
Try different additions when making this dessert.
Try nuts, raisins, honey, rose water, or any other additions you’d like to try.
Please share your favorites; I’d love to hear from you!
Creamy Rice Pudding
- 2 tbsp Butter unsalted
- 1 cup Rice medium to short grain
- 2 cups Milk full fat
- 1 cup Cream
- 3 tbsp Sugar
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 6 Cloves
- 1/2 cup Water
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/3 cup Evaporated Milk
- Melt butter in a pot and then add the rice. Stir until rice is covered with the butter.
- Gradually stir in the milk and cream while stirring constantly.
- Add the sugar and continue to stir.
- Add cinnamon stick and cloves.
- Continue to stir until all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.
- Add the water and continue to cook. Add additional water if necessary to get the rice soft.
- Add the vanilla and evaporated milk.
- Stir until thick.
- Spoon into six ramekins. Serve at room temperature.