I am quite sure that if you were to look up the word comfort in a dictionary, you would find the words "Rice Pudding." written there in black and white . . . perhaps with a tasty picture that would speak a thousand words about just how tasty and soulful Rice Pudding really is . . .
No???? Well, then they certainly should be!!!
What else speaks of home and love and comfort in such a cozy way.
Milk, rice, cream . . . sugar . . .
Old fashioned flavours . . .
perhaps . . .
Simple . . . yes . . .
Delicious . . . absolutely.
*The Best Rice Pudding Ever*
Creamy and rich, this is our favourite rice pudding. I clipped the recipe from out of a newspaper many years ago and the page is a bit tattered and spotted with time, which just goes to show that it's well loved and much used!
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 1/2 cups cream
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 strip of lemon peel, the pith discarded
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup sugar
2 ounces flaked almonds, toasted and crushed with your fingers
1 1/2 cups tart cherries (tinned or frozen)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cornflour
1 1/2 TBS cherry liqueur (optional)
First make the cherry sauce. Combine the cherries, 1/4 cup of their juices, the sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a saucepan over medium high heat. Stir and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Mix the cornflour with 2 tsp of water. Stir into the cherries. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for about 5 minutes until thickened. Stir in the cherry liqueur, if using. Set aside.
Place the milk, cream, vanilla bean and it's seeds, cinnamon stick, cardamom and lemon zest in a large saucepan. bring almost to the boil, then add the rice. Return to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the sugar and stir until it is dissolved. Simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring often, until the rice is completely softened, tender and creamy. Remove from the heat. Take out the cinnamon stick, vanilla bean and the lemon peel. Stir in the almonds.
Serve the rice pudding in bowls with a dollop of the cherry sauce spooned on top. Serve immediately.
Note - Rice is one of those foods that you really need to handle with care. Improper handling of cooked rice is one of the leading causes of food poisoning in restaurants, and in fact I never re-heat my rice at home. What doesn't get eaten on the day, gets tossed. Make sure that you cool it down quickly after cooking, and chill it thoroughly, and then, if you are going to re-heat, that you are sure to re-heat it to a very high temperature, all the way through to the middle.