Okay. Finish this sentence:
“Rice pudding reminds me of _____________.”
Did you say “grandma?” We’re betting you said grandma.
Yeah, we know. There’s something about the sound of rice pudding that evokes memories of oyster crackers, mothballs and plastic-covered furniture. (No?) One of the strange dessert hybrids made with suspiciously non-dessert food (see also sauerkraut cupcakes) it’s no wonder rice pudding has gone out of vogue in recent decades. Still, it never really went away. And you have to admit, your average grandma knows a thing or two about the kitchen.
So in this post, we present you with rice pudding. Humble, hard-working, comforting rice pudding. The pudding-next-door, as it were. It’s a great way to use up some leftover rice, and this version–which uses honey instead of sugar and even incorporates some dates–can almost be considered healthy.
Here is a recipe, along with some pictures of the finished result:
This recipe makes two 8.5 x 4.5 inch pans. If you have a larger pan, you can use that to make one big batch instead
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla
1.5 tsp grated orange or lemon peel
2.5 cups cooked rice
1/2 dates (or whatever dried fruit you have in the house–raisins or cherries would be good as well)
1/4 nut (about 1/4 tsp) nutmeg
Combine eggs, milk, salt, sugar, vanilla and lemon peel in a bowl, and pour the mixture into whatever pan(s) you are using (butter them a bit first). Add in the rice and dates. Place the filled pans inside a larger pan filled with hot water (the water should be high enough to cover at least 1/2 of the pudding pans). Bake, uncovered at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, and stir. Then bake for another 1 to 1.5 hours, or until a knife comes out clean.
If you want a nice, creme brulee-ish top, sprinkle the finished puddings with about 2 teaspoons of sugar and then brown for a couple minutes in the broiler.