We’ve been graced with a mild fall this year; most days are sunny and balmy, the brilliance of the orange trees enhanced by the watercolour blue skies.
The warm weather has been a bit of a mixed blessing, making it all too easy to ignore the approaching winter. So last week when the first frost struck, it left us quaking in our boots, literally.
A bowl of comfort food was in order and rice pudding was the obvious choice.
I haven’t stopped thinking about rice pudding since I bought a copy of Faith Durand’s cookbook Bakeless Sweets. There is a whole section just on rice, tapioca and whole-grain puddings which has been so inspired. Salted Caramel Risotto anyone?
I was looking for something simple, and not too rich. Ideally an afternoon snack that would nourish as well as comfort. I took the basis of Faith’s splendid Gingered Brown Rice Pudding and added my own spices: cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and turmeric. I always prefer fresh ground spices over the often-stale pre-ground options, and they really shine in this recipe.
Turmeric is a root that I’ve been trying to incorporate more often into my foods – both savoury and sweet – as it has so many health benefits. Once you start using it, you’ll find it is quite versatile, too, so keep it around for more than just curries. Try grating it into root vegetables soup or simmer it into a spiced chai for starters.
The turmeric gives this spiced brown rice pudding a gentle golden colour, perfectly suitable for fall – but without the pumpkin that we see so prevalent this time of the year. You can add a spoon or two of pumpkin purée if you choose, but the rice pudding is delicately flavoured and lovely on its own.
An egg yolk is added during the last five minutes of cooking time, which helps give the rice pudding a rich, creamy texture. It’s honey-sweetened, gently spiced, and the ideal comfort food for a damp, grey fall day.
My boys scooped up a bowlful each after school – and I let them sprinkle little cinnamon sugar on top. It would be delicious with a dash of homemade pumpkin pie spice also.
I prefer brown rice for my pudding, it’s much more substantial and lends a great nuttiness to the snack. Use short grain when you can, although this version is made with what I had on hand – long-grain – and turned out just fine.
|Spiced Brown Rice Pudding|| |
- 3 cups partially-skimmed milk
- 3/4 cup brown rice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 cardamom pods
- 4 whole cloves
- 3/4 teaspoon ground tumeric
- 3 Tbps honey
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
- In a medium pot, combine 1/2 cup milk, 1 cup water, brown rice, salt and cinnamon stick. Bring to a rapid boil, then cover, and reduce heat to low.
- Cook rice for about 40 minutes or until it is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Meanwhile, crush the cardamom and cloves in a mortar and pestle.
- Stir in the remaining 2 1/2 cups milk, the crushed spices, turmeric and honey. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook, stirring often, for twenty minutes or until the pudding is thick and soupy.
- Whisk egg yolk and vanilla together in a small bowl and add a little of the cooking liquid from the pudding to temper the mixture. Add about a cup of rice pudding to the egg, stir well, then transfer the mixture back to the pot.
- Cook the rice pudding for another five minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and taste for seasoning. Add more sweetener or a pinch of salt if desired.
- Remove the cinnamon stick and serve warm.
Does rice pudding fall into your comfort food category?