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roll with it

Recipe: rice pudding

You know what this is? This is fakeout winter. Fakeout winter is just enough snow to string you along into thinking you’re getting a real ski season interspersed with days so warm as to induce flowering plant confusion. During fakeout winter, you pretty much have to take advantage of whatever you can get.


like taking dogs on romps in the snow before it melts or blows away

or skiing breckenridge in what feels like spring conditions



Then when the weather just isn’t cooperating or there isn’t enough snow, you catch up with friends who are about to ship off for the other side of the world. Boulder has a plethora of lunch options, but you will never go wrong with Pizzeria Locale. Safe travels, Andrew!

super psyched for the butterscotch pudding



I think most of you know that I’m not a huge sweets fan. Like the butterscotch pudding above? I tasted it. It was very well done, but I didn’t want any more than a taste. There are only a handful of desserts that I really love and most of them are either fruity or creamy (I am also crazy for caramels). Creamy, as in, dairy based. I actually think it is a good thing that I’m lactose intolerant so I don’t indulge in these pants-size-altering treats often. I think custards rank near the top of my list for creamy desserts. Eggy, custardy, silky, slightly sweet – I love it. And that’s probably why I am so fond of this custardy rice pudding.

arborio rice



Having attempted numerous rice pudding recipes over the last couple of decades, I was never really satisfied with any of them. That is, until I came across this one in Fine Cooking last summer. It calls for the addition of egg yolks, which is what you do to make custard. SCORE!

eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla bean, cinnamon

pour in a quart of whole milk



The version I made uses arborio rice because I wanted it to be a thick pudding. This short grain rice offers more starch to help achieve that lovely consistency. Everything but the eggs simmers on the stove until the rice is tender. At that point, you want to add the egg yolks – but if you stir them directly into the rice pudding, they will curdle… cook. That’s blegh. Instead, beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl, and whisk in a cup of the hot rice pudding to temper the yolks. It’s enough to bring the egg temperature up without cooking the eggs. Then stir that mixture into the saucepan.

a little rice goes a long way

tempering the egg yolks



Stir the pudding over medium heat until it thickens. It’s just like making custard for many of the ice cream recipes in my archives. You can serve this hot or cold. I like both. The original recipe offers mixing in some whipped cream, but I am perfectly happy without it. This is a creamy, rich, thick pudding all on its own and it is fantastic comfort food.

to share or not to share…



Rice Pudding
[print recipe]
Fine Cooking, issue #111 (June/July 2011)

1 vanilla bean
4 cups plus 2/3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup white rice, such as Carolina long grain,basmati, jasmine, or arborio (I used arborio)
7 tbsps granulated sugar
3-inch cinnamon stick
2 large egg yolks

Use a knife to split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds out. Place the seeds, vanilla bean, 4 cups of the milk, the rice, sugar, and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the milk comes to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir often and gently until the rice is tender – approximately 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Continue to whisk the egg yolks while ladling in a cup of the hot rice-milk to “temper” the egg yolks (to avoid cooking the eggs like it would if you poured the eggs directly into the saucepan). Scrape the egg mixture back into the saucepan and stir in the last 2/3 cup of milk until everything is incorporated. Return the saucepan to the stove on medium heat and stir constantly until the rice pudding starts to boil (only a few minutes). Remove from heat and place the pudding in a medium bowl and set plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding. Place the bowl in or on an ice bath to cool. When the pudding has cooled, you can remove the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean. Divvy the pudding into 6 servings, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. I like to grate some nutmeg on top right before serving.

20 nibbles at “roll with it”

  1. Debbie says:

    The weather here in Virginia has been crazy too. Right now it’s early morning and 61 degrees! Love the rice pudding. I could make this a meal by itself!

  2. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    I love a good, classic, rice pudding like this one. Lovely recipe!

  3. Kristin says:

    Oooooh! I just bought some cardamom pods on Wednesday & thought that I would make cardamom & rose water rice pudding. Guess which recipe I’ll use! Thank you!

  4. Connie says:

    Rice pudding…I have never used arborio rice. I can see how it would make it thicker and “creamier”. Yum.

  5. magpie says:

    Yum. That sounds like a good weekend project.

  6. Alessio says:

    Fakey winter? Mmm sorta… Here in Sicily we have been having more cold than usual but very randomly: one day you need the blanket-taco look the next day you open all the windows to let the warm air come through.
    Rice pudding does help in making you think that is winter eheh
    Love pure vanilla-light cinnamon rice pudding anyday though :D Must try yout version with egg yolk in it.

  7. Dina says:

    love your photos. looks delish!

  8. Bebe says:

    Yeah, ski season here in the Northeast is the same. We have been waiting for winter to arrive – and February is only 4 days away!!! I keep telling my husband that February and March will make up for December and January… Hopefully, I’ll be right. :)

  9. Tiffany says:

    I go to school in upstate New York, so this fakeout winter is making my life right now. :)

    That looks so delicious I want to weep. I would bathe in rice pudding if I could.

  10. Margie says:

    Pure comfort food. Absolutely.

    My mother made the best rice pudding in all this world. I’ve got to try this one. It sounds wonderful. :)

  11. Kitt says:

    Loooove rice pudding. Thanks for the recipe!

    I could make this now, but I only have 1 percent milk. D’you think that would work?

  12. jenyu says:

    Kitt – I think you could, but it might not come out as creamy? I’ve made rice pudding with non-fat milk before (but not the custard version), and it’s a little weird to me.

  13. Sherri says:

    Wow, can’t wait to try this. I love rice pudding.

  14. Patricia Scarpin says:

    That rice pudding must be super rich! Love it, Jen!

  15. jenyu says:

    Kristin – that sounds like a fantastic combination.

    Connie – I think because I’ve grown up eating short grained rice, I just naturally gravitate toward it :)

    Alessio – I’m surprised you haven’t yet! xo

    Bebe – I hope so too!

    Tiffany – that is hilarious!!

    Margie – moms always make the best food in the world.

    Patricia – yes, I think that’s why I like it :) hee hee!!

  16. anne says:

    oh yes … i will be making this for breakfast (with short grain brown rice) for the fussy 10 year old.
    absolutely in love with “butter”! cheers from upstate ny (no snow, 50 degrees, sunny !?%*)

  17. Arthur in the Garden! says:

    Nice version of a classic!

  18. Julie says:

    Can raisins be added and at what point?

  19. jenyu says:

    Julie – good question. I think I’d probably add the raisins maybe 5 minutes before the rice becomes tender?

  20. Christina says:

    I am having people over tonight for spanish rice, oven baked tacos and strawberry margaritas, so I decided some rice pudding would be great for dessert. Just finished cooling it and OMG it is delicious! I almost don’t want to serve it so I can have all of it :) Fantastic recipe!

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