Rice pudding with drunken raisins
This rich and creamy dessert is deeply favored and not too sweet.
I don’t know about other folks, but I tend to buy all kinds of beans and grains and rice and stash them away in the freezer. Then I forget I bought them and buy them all over again. Maybe it’s a genetic throwback to some ancient foremother – a primeval anxiety to store proteins and carbs away, in case the mammoths die out or something.
Or maybe I’m just absent-minded.
In any case, today I went on a fact-finding mission to the freezer. Lo and behold I discovered all kinds of rice. Basmati rice, sushi rice, jasmine rice, long-grain Persian rice. Just a few tablespoons of this kind or a quarter-cup of that. I removed the rolled-up cellophane bags from the freezer, put them on the kitchen table, and sat looking at them.
Rice pudding, I realized. Not too sweet, but deeply flavored with vanilla, brown sugar and sweet spices. A few drunken raisins stirred in towards the end. Hmmm….
This is easy to make, but takes a little patience and 1-1/2 hours of cooking time. The slow cook and occasional stir yield a rich, creamy texture without the need to add eggs.
- 1 cup any rice, rinsed
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups milk
- 1 vanilla bean, split open
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons white sugar
- 3 whole cloves or 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 cup black raisins
- Enough rum, brandy, whiskey, gin, or flavored vodka to cover the raisins
Cook the rice in the water, covered, until very tender: about 15 minutes.
Set up a double-boiler with a larger pot holding enough water to come up about halfway to the rice pot when you place it inside.
Light a medium flame under the large pot.
Stir the salt, butter, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick and milk into the cooked rice.
Stir in the sugar, tablespoon by tablespoon. Stir thoroughly to dissolve the sugar each time.
The water in the large pot should be hot by now. Place the rice pot inside and cover it.
Lower the flame so that the water doesn’t boil away (add more if it does).
Put the raisins in a small bowl and cover them with your booze of choice. Set aside.
Cook the rice for 1 hour and 20 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes to help the rice disintegrate and become creamy.
Add the cloves at the final 10 minutes. The pudding should be almost done now, thick and heavy. Stir it very well, scraping the bottom with your spoon to prevent sticking.
When the pudding is done – and it’s done when most of the liquid has evaporated and the mass is soft and creamy, with a little texture – if using whole cloves, remove them now, with the vanilla bean and cinnamon stick.
Drain the raisins and stir them in.
Serve the pudding warm or cold, with lightly sweetened whipped cream if you like. If you intend to serve it cold, place a layer of plastic film right on the surface of the pudding, to keep it from forming a skin.
Myself, I like it hot.
- If you plan to serve this pudding to children, either soak the raisins in hot tea – Earl Grey tea is nice – or put their servings aside, minus the drunken fruit.
- Pitted, chopped prunes or dates may be substituted for the raisins.
Related Topics: Desserts