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rum raisin rice pudding

I’m not a big eater of sweets. In fact, I’m more likely to pick up a piece of fruit most days than a piece of chocolate. I especially hate making my own dessert because of the science required in measuring ingredients. I’m more of a taste-it-as-I-go kind of cook–a smidgen here, a drizzle there. The huge exception to that rule is rice pudding. I can devour a pint or more of rice pudding in a sitting, especially when I was pregnant.

I have made many versions of rice pudding over the years. To be honest, you don’t even need my recipe. Just Google “rice pudding” and whatever ingredient you feel like tasting that day, like cardamom or pistachios. There are many adaptations out there, and it’s one of the easier desserts to make, so long as you don’t scald the milk. “Rum raisin” is one of my favorite variations. When I feel like being decadent, I use Ina Garten’s recipe; but when I remember I don’t want to end up wearing a shent, I opt for the following lower-calorie recipe.

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imagerum raisin rice pudding
serves 4

1 c. short-grain rice
4 c. whole milk
2 sticks cinnamon
2 cardamom pods
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. dark rum
1 c. raisins

Boil milk and cinnamon. Be sure to bring the milk to boil slowly while stirring constantly so it doesn’t scald the bottom of the pan. Wash rice until water runs clear and drain well. Add to milk. Simmer gently uncovered for 12-15 minutes. Remove cinnamon and add condensed milk and vanilla. Meanwhile, in a small pan, simmer rum and raisins until plump and almost all the rum is gone. Cook rice covered another 10-15 minutes very slowly. Cool. Add raisins and dust with more cinnamon.

Update (1-29-12): Below is a quicker variation on the recipe if you have leftover rice and no time for the rum-raisin steeping.

2 c. cooked white rice
2 c. whole milk
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1 c. sweetened condensed milk (I buy an organic variety at Trader Joe’s in a plastic bottle)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup raisins

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for 15 minutes.