By Cat, Feb 2008 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
- See also: 1. Pudding & Frozen Desserts Menu; 2.Christmas Rice Pudding (Julerisengrød); 3. Greek Rice Pudding (Rizógalo)
- Includes: 1. Creamy Baked Rice Pudding; 2. Chocolate Variation
Nothing beats a good soft, creamy pudding as comfort food. Rice pudding is thickened by the starch in the rice, so that cornstarch is not required. The rice also sweetens the pudding, so that much less sugar (or stevia) is required.
Baking the rice cooks it more slowly for maximum creaminess. There are many different versions of baked rice pudding from around the world. My favorite comes from Greece (Rizógalo) and is flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange peel.
Compared with other grains, rice contains no gluten, and is relatively low in phytic acid, so does not require overnight soaking. Brown rice is highest of all grains in B Vitamins, and also contains iron, vitamin E and some protein. Short-grain rice is preferred for puddings, because it is starchier than long grain rice.
Traditionally, these puddings are made with whole milk, or milk and cream. However, you can use diluted coconut milk (not lite coconut milk) for all or part of the milk/cream mixture. I would not substitute soy milk in place of whole milk, but homemade almond milk might work – but I’ve not tested this; I would not use commercial almond milk because it has many undesirable additives.
Some recipes use water and milk to cook the rice, but I prefer raw milk and cream for their higher fat content, which is a good balance for the sugary grains (to curb insulin spikes). Also for the calcium and other minerals in raw milk.
Creamy Baked Rice Pudding
This recipe is adapted from Stevia Naturally Sweet Recipes for Desserts, Drinks and More! by Rita DePuydt, and serves 6. This version of rice pudding is very much like that found in Greek restaurants, except I make it with brown instead of white rice.
The original recipe uses stevia extract powder, an amount equivalent to 1 ⅛ cup sugar. It is much sweeter than the Christmas Rice Pudding; I don’t like it that sweet, plus rice contributes its own sweetness, so I reduce the sugar equivalent to ¾ – 1 cup. I would use only ¾ cup sugar (or equivalent stevia and honey).
You can add ¼ cup soaked raisins with the honey and lemon, but I’m not fond of raisins.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 1 tsp butter (for casserole dish)
- ½ cup short-grain brown rice
- 1 cup light cream (or diluted coconut milk)
- 2 cups whole milk (not homogenized)
- ¾ – 1 cup Rapadura or white cane sugar (OR ¼ – ½ tsp powdered stevia extract)*
- 1 Tbsp honey*
- 1-2 lemons (for 1 Tbsp juice and zest of ½ lemon)
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 quart casserole dish with cover
- wooden spoon
* alternately, use ⅛ tsp powdered stevia extract, and increase honey to 4 Tbsp
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Butter casserole dish.
- Grate lemon zest and squeeze 1 Tbsp juice. If using, stir stevia into the juice and set aside.
- Place uncooked rice in the casserole dish with 1 ½ cup milk. Cover and place in preheated oven. Uncover after it starts boiling, or in about 30 minutes.
- After about 1 hour in the oven, stir in the rest of the milk and the cream, sugar or honey, the lemon juice (with stevia, if using), lemon zest, and cinnamon.
- Continue to bake in the oven for another hour (2 hours total, until thick and creamy), uncovered, stirring about every half hour.
- Remove from oven before all the milk is totally absorbed.
Chocolate Rice Pudding Variation
Ingredients as above, with following additions/changes
- ⅓ cup bakers cocoa, added with first portion of milk
- increase sweetener to 1 – 1 ½ cups sugar (or ½ – ¾ tsp powdered stevia extract plus 2 Tbsp maple syrup or raw local honey), added with second portion of milk and the cream
- omit lemon zest
This variation can also be cooked in a heavy bottomed saucepan on top of the stove over moderate heat until it comes to a boil, then reducing heat to a simmer for the remainder of the cooking time.
- Spoon into dessert dishes;
- Optional Garnishes:
- Raw cream (poured from an elegant pitcher)
- A dollop of whipped cream
- Chopped chocolate-covered English toffee
- Chopped dried cherries
- Chopped pecans or pistachios
- Fresh berries
- Fresh-grated nutmeg
- Ground cinnamon or cinnamon-sugar mix
- Stevia Naturally Sweet Recipes for Desserts, Drinks and More! by Rita DePuydt