Mom’s Rice Pudding

If there were only one recipe I could pass down to my kids from the family collection, it would be this one. Rice pudding, for me, is the ultimate comfort food that takes me straight back to my mother’s kitchen, every time I make it. I’ve also got a bit of a history with rice pudding, which I’ll go into detail after the recipe (because I swore I wouldn’t create a recipe blog that has way too much blah, blah, blah up front and not enough just getting to the point and handing out the recipe). So stick around for my Nicole’s notes, if you’re up for a read.

I’m attributing this recipe to my mom because the only record I have of it is in her handwriting, although she refers to it as Mom’s Rice Pudding. Perhaps aptly named because it ended up being HER rice pudding and now that I’ve fiddled a bit with the ratios and changed to a plant-based milk, it will my MY rice pudding, from my kids’ perspective.

In this recipe, the pudding takes on a custard taste due to the eggs. For more diligent vegans, perhaps omitting the eggs would still produce a delicious pudding, but I’ve yet to try.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups short-grain white rice, freshly cooked
  • 3 cups soy milk (or other plant-based milk)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (optional, for pumpkin pie variation, described in the recipe)

Add rice and soy milk to a medium saucepan and stir over medium heat. Add the beaten eggs.

Next, add the remaining ingredients and stir occasionally for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir constantly for 10 minutes or until the pudding thickens.

If making the pumpkin pie variation (see below), add the pumpkin puree before reducing heat to low.

Remove from heat and cover. Let cool at least 10-20 minutes before serving. The pudding will continue to set as it cools.

Nicole’s Notes

Pumpkin Pie variation

The pumpkin pie version is one I came up with on the fly because I had an open can of pumpkin puree and realized all the spices and creaminess in this recipe would probably taste delicious with pumpkin. I was right!

If at first you don’t succeed…

Grandma’s cookbook actually had three recipes for rice pudding. I had originally been thinking I would blog all three, but the baked version (in mom’s handwriting) was an edible failure. The rice-to-wet-ingredients ratio seemed off to me but I decided to trust the recipe for the most part and… I baked the pudding basically to oblivion.

The other recipe (typewritten by grandma) calls for making it in the microwave and using a mix of white and brown rice. First, cooking with a microwave is finicky and not super congruent with my views on cooking. Second, and probably more importantly, who has the time or patience to cook 2 different types of rice?? No thanks. I’m guessing that this was created during grandma’s health kick phase (all her recipes on orange paper seem to be from that time).

My history of rice pudding making

I lived in Mexico for the year in 2005, teaching Psychology and History of Art at a private high school. I had my own little apartment where I lived alone for the first time in my life. I had a pet rabbit named Besito to keep me company and became friends with one of the most lovely and generous women I’ve ever met. We got on so well, when we were together we referred to me as “the Canadian Claudia” and her, “the Mexican Nicole.”

My only transportation in the very car-commuter city was foot, taxi or Claudia. So, because we typically only saw each other on weekends, I spent a lot of time alone. Work, Besito and a very large amount of art supplies didn’t seem to be enough stimulation for me… so take this into consideration when I tell you this sort of bizarre story about how I ate only rice pudding for at least 3 weeks straight.

I decided I wanted to figure out how to make rice pudding without reading a recipe. So bought a bunch of rice, milk, eggs, cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg. My first few batches had to be cut them with a knife. A sort of sweet, dense, rice loaf. But I’d made so much of it and refused to waste it – I stubbornly refused to eat anything else.

My friends got wind of my project and started being my test subjects for each new batch – probably worried I would get scurvy or something and volunteered themselves to be my test subjects to help save me from myself. A sign of some very good friends. I’m not sure I ever landed on a particularly delicious recipe – if I did, I didn’t write it down.

Anyway, so when I think of rice pudding – as I said above, the first place I am transported to is back to my mother’s kitchen. But I also transported back to my little kitchen in Mexico and my friendship with the ever-effervescent Mexican Nicole.

As a post-note to this story, I might have stayed in Mexico at least one more year, but came back to Canada in hurry in December 2005 after my mother’s heart attack. That December forever changed the course of both of our lives. My mother’s, for the obvious reason that she would live out her remaining days with the effects of cardiac failure – and me, because abruptly giving up my teaching contract set me free to go wherever I wanted – and I decided to take the very few of my possessions… to Toronto.

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