I highly dislike rice pudding. Really, really don’t prefer eating the stuff. I just don’t think rice belongs in a creamy pudding.
Not so with this stuff. When my aunt Krista brought it to a family dinner a while back, I pounced on her and asked for the recipe. Okay, I didn’t actually pounce. If I remember correctly, I was sitting across the room from her and when that first bite met my lips, I hollered, “Krista! I need this recipe!!” And she was kind enough to give it to me. (And maybe that’s not even how the story goes. At any rate, I wanted the recipe bad.)
Now that I’ve gained an appreciation for some sort of rice pudding, maybe I’ll eventually enjoy the classic stuff.
Adapted from my aunt Krista’s recipe
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 1/2 cups milk
3 T honey
1/2 t orange zest
1/2 cup milk
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract (not flavoring!)
1/2 cup dried sweet cherries (or raisins or craisins)
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
Simmer the rice, 1 1/2 cups milk, honey, and orange zest for about 15 minutes or until creamy and thickened, stirring every so often. Stir in the 1/2 cup milk and extracts and a pinch of salt if your rice was unsalted to begin with. Cool to room temperature. Stir in the cherries and almonds. Chill.
Fresh, the almonds will be crunchy and the cherries very chewy. Chilled, the almonds almost melt into the rice and the cherries plump up and provide a lovely contrast to the creamy rice. Also keep in mind that the pudding will seem sort of runny after you cook it. Don’t worry, as it sits and chills, the rice absorbs all of that milk. (If it gets too thick, stir in some more milk.)
Yield: about 3 cups