Creamy rice pudding has to be one of the most comforting desserts that you can make for your family, especially at this time of year when it is not yet Spring, and Winter still has its icy teeth gripping us with its last hurrah!
This is a dessert that is rich and delicious. To me, it just shouts, “Home Sweet Home!” Not too sweet and incredibly creamy and rich, it is also probably one of the easiest desserts that you can make.
This particular recipe I am sharing with you today is not only easy and delicious, but it is low in fat and sugar, high in protein and quite delectable, as well as being very quick and easy to make. In short, this is the perfect mid-week dessert for the family to enjoy! There are also no eggs in this recipe which makes it ideal for the family that struggle with egg allergies.
For this creamy rice pudding, you will need fairly simple and easy to find ingredients. In fact, I am guessing that you probably have everything you need in your kitchen right now to make it. Rice, lemons, evaporated milk, sugar, water, raisins and flaked almonds. Simple.
I like to use short-grained rice for making my rice puddings. That is because I much prefer the end result over the results from using other rice. It comes out nice and sticky and robust. You can use the equivalent of other kinds of rice if you wish.
Pair this creamy rice pudding with a Cajun Chicken Burger for lunch!
Basmati, jasmine, long-grained, or broken rice. Each kind of rice will give you a slightly different result and the cook times may vary slightly, but overall you will still end up with a delicious pudding. DO NOT use instant rice.
Today I used a short grained Italian Arborio rice. No matter the rice you choose to use however, you will need to rinse it first in running cold water until the water runs clear. This helps to get rid of some of the starch and also makes for a nicer finish. It is not as stodgy as when you don’t rinse the rice. I measure the rice into a fine strainer and then rinse it well under cold running water, draining it well afterwards.
More traditional rice pudding recipes rely on nutmeg for flavoring. This recipe varies in that it uses fresh lemon, both the zest and the juice, which gives it a lovely fresh flavor. If you love the flavor of lemon this is the pudding for you! I used two unwaxed fresh lemons.
Even though they are unwaxed, you will want to give the lemons a good scrub before you zest them. This will get rid of any pesticides, etc. that might have been used when they were growing. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my family to be eating those things!
Scrub them well in warm soapy water, rinse and then pat dry. I use my micro-plane zester which gives me the right size of zest. You don’t want big bits of lemon zest. The micro plane also makes it easier to prevent any of the bitter pith from getting into the mix, which is something you really don’t want.
This is the type of citrus juicer that I like to use. It does a great job of getting out all of the juice, without adding any of the pips. I hate having to fish citrus pips out of anything and when you are working with rice pudding, it can sometimes be difficult to tell the rice from the pips, so better safe than sorry. This tool does the job perfectly.
You will want to use a heavy-based saucepan, which will help to prevent your pudding from catching on the bottom while it is cooking. Put your rice into a heavy-based saucepan along with the sugar, lemon zest and juice, and the raisins. I use sultana raisins, or golden raisins as they are also known.
Once you have those in the saucepan you can add the water. I use water for this part of the recipe. Just cold tap water. Nothing fancy. Just stir it into the pan and then pop the pan onto the stove.
Slowly bring this mixture to the boil, over moderate heat, and stirring all the while. This also makes sure that the rice doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan, just like in any recipe with rice you might cook.
Just keep moving it around, and don’t be in a rush and use a high heat. Medium-low works just fine. Once it comes to the boil, then you can reduce the heat to a slow simmer and walk away, returning to give it a good stir every now and then, again to prevent it from catching and to move the rice around. I like to stir it every five minutes or so.
At the end of 25 minutes, it should look like this. It will be thick, but not stiff, and the raisins will be nicely plumped up. It will also smell sweet and lemony.
It is at this point that you will need to stir in a can of evaporated milk. Not sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk.
This is milk that has been heated to remove half of the liquid, so it is rich and very milky, almost like a cream but without all of the fat of cream. It still has a very rich flavor, which becomes almost caramel-like when heated.
By all means, if you are not fond of evaporated milk, you can use single cream or half and half, both will work well. Whatever you decide to use, stir it into the cooked rice and then return the pan to the stove to cook and stir for a further five minutes. At the end of that time, it will be rich, creamy and delicious.
Pour the pudding into a pan large enough to hold it, but somewhat shallow. You don’t want a deep dish. You are going to sprinkle flaked almonds over top and then pop it under the broiler to toast the almonds. You want to have as many of the almonds exposed to the heat of the broiler as possible, so you need to spread them out over a larger surface.
It won’t take very long so keep a close watch on the pudding while it is under the grill. It only takes a few minutes and they can burn quite easily in just seconds.
And that’s it! Just like that dessert is ready. Doesn’t it look creamy and lush? That toasted almond topping is the perfect finish and provides a wonderfully nutty crunch which contrasts beautifully with the sticky sweetness of the raisins and that creamy richness of the pudding!
In short, the perfect dessert!
- ½ cup short grain rice, rinsed (Arborio is good)
- ¼ cup white sugar
- the grated zest and juice of two unwaxed lemons
- scant 2 cups of cold water
- 2/3 cup golden raisins
- 1 (14.5 oz) tin of evaporated milk
- 3 TBS flaked almonds
Put the rice, sugar, lemon zest and juice, sultanas and cold water in a medium saucepan. Bring slowly to the boil, then simmer, uncovered for 25 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Stir in the evaporated milk and simmer for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Preheat the broiler to high.
Pour the rice pudding into a 1-quart serving dish that is heat resistant. Sprinkle the flaked almonds over top. Pop under the heated broiler and grill just until the almonds are toasty golden brown, without burning. Serve warm, spooned out into individual serving dishes.
If you are making this pudding in advance add an additional half cup of water when you first cook it. Add the evaporated milk as above and continue to cook, but do not add the almonds. Then remove to a covered container and chill. Reheat the pudding gently over low heat on the top of the stove or in the microwave on medium power, pour into the dish and top with the flaked almonds, toasting them beneath the broiler as above.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 230
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Marie Rayner is a retired Chef, freelance writer, recipe developer, food blogger, and Cookbook author. She makes her home in Chester, UK, where she lives with her husband, Todd, and their much beloved English Cocker, Mitzie. Her motto is “Life is far too short to eat bad food,” and her goal is to share delicious and easy recipes which anyone can enjoy and cook in the comfort of their own home.