The boy’s first grade teacher asked me the other day to make up a batch of rice pudding for their “Christmas around the World” party on Friday. I thought, “ooooh, I can blog it.” Little did I know that everyone else in the world has blogged it also- google has a ton of extremely “authentic” Swedish rice pudding recipes. I threw out the ones that called for evaporated milk, and raisins (bleah! the texture!) and also decided I didn’t want to get into separating eggs and making a meringue to spread on the pudding, who cares whether that’s authentic or not?
I wound up taking what I know about rice, and what I know about pudding, and making a leap. I can’t really say it’s authentically anything, though. Note- I used 1% milk, because that is what we always have. This would probably be better with whole milk. Also, I just got a brainstorm, what about steeping a Chai tea bag in the milk? Of course, then it would not only be not Swedish, it wouldn’t be great for first graders, either…
First Grade Rice Pudding
2 cups cooked rice (you know how to cook rice, right?)
2 cups milk
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Heat the milk to almost boiling in a large, heavy saucepan. Meanwhile, beat sugar and vanilla into eggs. Temper the eggs by adding about half a cup of hot milk to the eggs and mixing, then add that mixture to the rest of the hot milk. Now add the cooked rice to the egg and milk mixture. Add all of it to a casserole dish nested inside another dish.
Sprinkle with the spices. Place the pans in the oven, and carefully add hot water to the outside pan. This forms a water bath, and helps the custard cook evenly. Cook for one hour at 350 degrees, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
One of the traditional things Swedes do with this pudding on Christmas Eve is put an almond in it about 10 minutes before it is finished. Legend has it that whoever gets the almond in their serving will get married the next year. That will go over well with the first graders…
So, as I see it, rice pudding is a blank slate- what would you do with it?