Lovely Rice Pudding

Lovely Rice Pudding

This recipe is offered by CSA member Sydney Keegan, who has made it for our crew. Sydney says it’s a rich, deeply flavorful way to add extra calories to a meal for hungry farmers that doesn’t have heavy ingredients.

Bread puddings and rice puddings are usually made with white bread and white rice, but not only are the brown versions more nutritious, they are way more tasty. They give the dessert a richness and depth of flavor you don’t get with the white versions.

You can also convert this into a savory casserole by leaving our the sweeteners, raisins and spices and putting in pressed garlic, a few herbs, cut-up ham or sausages and lots of grated cheese, like sharp cheddar.

It must be baked in a bain-marie (or double boiler) like other custards, or it will curdle. So have ready a large deep pan or skillet that will hold your baking dish with room to spare for warm water up to the level of the pudding.

You can also call this Convertible Rice Pudding, because if you want to convert it into bread pudding, just use an equal quantity of very dry, 100% whole wheat bread in small cubes. I’ve chosen the rice option for Red Dog because so many eaters there have gluten intolerance.

Yields about 8 moderate size servings.

1 quart milk, whole, or your choice (If icy-cold from the fridge, warm it to room temp to cut baking time. For a luxuriously extra-rich pudding, use a quart of half-and-half.)
4 large eggs, room temp
One tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar, or 1/4 cup and 2 tbs molasses. To either choice add two tablespoons Trader Joe’s Stevia Extract. This is a stevia extract in a powder base with dextrose. It is not as intense and does not leave as much of the bitter aftertaste as straight stevia. Good for baking.
3/4 cup dark raisins
1 Tbsp grated orange rind
For sophisticated grown-up eaters, add 1/4 cup sweet sherry, or a couple of tbsp of brandy
One and a half to two cups fully cooked brown rice (If using the larger amount of rice, some extra milk can be added, up to a cupful.)
One large or two medium sweet, flavorful apples
Cinnamon and a bit of sugar to sprinkle

Preheat oven to 325. This pudding goes together quickly, so it will be ready to put in when the oven has reached the desired temperature.

Use a blender to mix everything but the raisins and rice.

Put rice and raisins in a buttered baking dish or casserole dish that holds at least two quarts.

Pour blended liquids over, stirring to make sure the rice is thoroughly moistened. It will settle to the bottom while baking.

Core the apples and cut into thin slices. If they have not been sprayed, wash but don’t peel. Arrange the slices on top of the pudding so they cover it completely. If you use the baking dish, you may need two large apples. If the dish is round, arrange slices in a circular or spiral pattern.

Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and a bit of plain white sugar.

Put into the water bath pan, add enough warm water to come up to the level of the pudding in the dish, and bake for about 60 minutes. When a knife inserted in center comes out clean, it is done.

This baking time is approximate, of course. If the pudding is in a shallow dish, it will not take as long. Watch for over-browning, and if necessary turn down heat 25 degrees, or cover with aluminum foil.

Serve just plain, or with a pitcher of half and half or cream on the side. Very lightly sweetened soft whipped cream is lovely, of course, but I prefer cream you can pour. Even plain old whole milk makes a nice topper if you are serving this at lunch.