Good Old Fashioned Rice Pudding

rice pudding in potI’m not really one for desserts. I have a few favorites, but I generally focus on savory foods. Here, however, is one of my (and my children’s) childhood favorites. Comfort food! This is not some fancy new combination of ingredients or cooking method, it’s a reminder of an old (tweaked) favorite, and a reference for my girls for when they leave home.

I have seen some recipes for this that produce a thin, sweet liquid with cooked rice pieces floating in it, just the way my father-in-law likes it, but this is a thick dessert the way my husband and girls like it (sorry, Alec), soothing, and not too sweet. I really like the taste of dried fruit here, whose flavor gently infuses the rice in the oven, but my husband prefers his plain, so take your pick.

6oz (1 cup) short grain rice (e.g. arborio)
3 pints rice milk
4oz (~1/2 cup) white sugar
1/2 cup dried fruit (e.g. dried cherries, cranberries, or raisins, optional)
1 oz (1/4 stick or 2 tbsp) vegan margarine (e.g. Earth Balance)
sprinkle of nutmeg/cinnamon (optional)

Put the rice and milk in an oven proof saucepan, and bring slowly to a simmer. Allow the rice to simmer gently, stirring occasionally to stop it from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until barely cooked (~15 mins total). At this point, the dish will still look very thin.


Rice pudding served with tart, jarred, cherries.

Stir in the sugar (and dried fruit, if using), then dollop the margarine on the top to melt, sprinkle the top with nutmeg (if using), and put in the oven (towards the top to promote browning), uncovered, to cook slowly at 350F for 40-45 minutes, until the rice has absorbed the liquid, and a lightly browned skin has formed on the surface where the margarine melted.

Serve as is, or with stewed fruit.