Everyone has their favourite kind of comfort food. It could be chicken pot pie, your mother's chili, a nice slice of homemade German Chocolate cake... From the regular to the weird, there's one dish that makes you feel just a little bit better than others at the end of a long day. Enter this recipe.
There's a store in Montreal that is dedicated simply to rice pudding. Cocoa, hawaiian, marshmallow... it's incredible the flavours they have. But the one I just had to replicate was the Vanilla Bean pudding, which is creamy, flavourful and all-around addictive. Can you say best thing ever to make a bad day better? 'Cause I can.
Please note : Tiny Hands will not be joining us for this Instructable, because it was done almost entirely on the stove. And as Tiny Hands always says, "If it's hot, keep your paws off."
Step 1: What You're Gonna Need
List of ingredients, pretty short and sweet:
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cups basmati rice (the nice long grain)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy (35%) whipping cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (the short kind, about 4-5" long)
Large pot / saucepan
Time required: about one hour.
Make sure you're around to stir the pudding during the last half hour of cooking, to make sure you get the consistency you want.
Step 2: Cooking the Rice
Bring the 1 1/2 c. water, 3/4 c. rice and 1/4 tsp. salt to simmer in the large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer until water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Check after 8-9 minutes to be sure the water doesn't evaporate competely and burn the rice. A little bit of water in the bottom won't ruin the recipe.
Step 3: Making it Creamy
Add 3 c. milk, 1 c. heavy cream and 1/2 c. sugar. Slice the vanilla bean down the middle and scrape the seeds with the blade of your knife (the seeds look a lot like black pepper). Add the seeds and scraped beans to the pot.
Increase heat to medium-low and cook uncovered until the rice is tender and the mixture thickens slightly to a soft, creamy texture, about 35 minutes. I suggest to stir it every 5 minutes for the first 25, and then every 2 or 1 for the last bit. If you like an almost liquidy consistency, take it off just when you start to see definition around the rice (see image 4). For thicker, let it go a little longer. Please keep in mind that the pudding will thicken even MORE after it cools.
You could add less or more vanilla depending on your tastes. Since there's no liquid consistency to it, there's no change to the other ingredients or instructions. If vanilla beans are hard to come by, you could probably replace it with a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract, but I haven't tested this, so at your own risk. If you do try it, please post and let us know how it went!
Step 4: Finishing Up
Remove the pudding from heat and discard the vanilla bean. Serve warm or press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding and chill thoroughly. The plastic wrap ensures that no sticky skin will develop on the top of your pudding (think the hard surface you get on uncovered jello).
Keep refrigerated, due to all the dairy products used. I actually find this better cold or room temperature, but that's a personal preference you'll have to discover on your own. As is with toppings... I love the vanilla bean taste as is, but this would be good with a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg on top too.
And there it is! Delicious homemade Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding made with your own two hands! The recipe says that can be made up to two days ahead of the time you want to serve it, but I've never had a batch last longer than 6 hours... because I ate it.
For those adventurous culinary types, you'll notice that without the vanilla bean, this is just a basic creamy rice pudding recipe, begging to have other things added to it : cocoa or melted chocolate, dried or fresh fruits, spices, etc. If you experiment, I'd love to hear all about it!