I’ve never understood why Americans are so down on rice pudding; a good rice pud has to be one of the most soothing, comforting treats, and even the British canned variety, ‘Ambrosia Creamed Rice’ – has a massive fan base.
I remember wonderful rice puddings from my childhood; fragrant with vanilla and nutmeg, shimmering in the oven while we tucked into our Sunday roast. There was always a fight over who got the baked nutmeggy skin.
I’m more of a stove-top rice pudding maker nowadays and here are two of my absolute favorite versions; the first one is made with coconut milk and lime zest; the perfect dessert to follow a spicy Asian soup, or last week’s recipe for grilled fish with lime leaves. It’s wonderful eaten warm on its own, topped with some toasted almond flakes – or serve it chilled over some sliced fresh mango…absolutely delicious.
The second recipe is made with risotto (Arborio) rice and is completely fat free, although you’d never know it. The rice isn’t soaked so the natural starches create a very creamy pudding – sweetened with maple syrup, dotted with plump golden raisins and fragrant with cinnamon and vanilla – its one of the nicest rice puddings I’ve ever tasted.
So here they are.
COCONUT RICE PUDDING with LIME ZEST
1/2 cup (120ml measure) of white Basmati rice
One 14 oz (400ml) can of unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/4 cups (300ml) of skim milk
1/2 cup (120ml measure) of white sugar
2 teaspoons of finely grated lime zest, chopped
Pinch of salt
Put the rice in a bowl and cover with cold water to soak for 30 minutes – drain.
In a heavy based pan, bring the milk, coconut milk, rice, sugar and a pinch of salt to the boil.
Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook uncovered for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Take it off the heat and add the lime zest.
Serve while still warm or make up to 2 days ahead – cover and chill.
And now for the other recipe…
MAPLE RICE PUDDING WITH GOLDEN RAISINS
4 cups (960ml) of skim milk
2/3 cup (160ml measure) of Arborio rice, unwashed
2/3 cup (160ml) of pure maple syrup
1/4 cup (60ml measure) of golden raisins/sultanas
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and nutmeg
Combine the first four ingredients in a heavy pan and bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 50 minutes until creamy, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients – stir well.
Wonderful eaten warm or cold.