In my mind, few foods are as simply clean and perfect as a pot of perfectly cooked rice. If foods were chosen to embody colors, rice would be the perfect candidate for whiteness. Think about it. Freshly made, just off the heat, the first time you fluff it to break up some of the clumps, it’s like little pillows. It smells comforting and grainy and nutty and warm, it’s stuffed in heating pads and pillows, it’s thrown at weddings, it’s an amazing little miracle all on its own – tiny individual grains, hard and pointed, but after 20 minutes in bubbling water they magically become this beautiful, warm, sticky heap of comfort. You can do anything with them, but why would you? How can you possibly improve upon the perfection of a fresh, hot, sticky/chewy/creamy/nutty pot of white rice?
By turning it into pudding.
I’ve never liked the look of those stovetop rice puddings that are soupy and goopy – almost like the consistency of hot cereal. No, when I think pudding, I want something that sets up firm and has to be broken through with a spoon, not just scooped up. I want a custard. Given our crazy weather today, my mom’s amended rice pudding recipe is perfect.
Cook two cups of raw rice in a pot on the stovetop until done, then take the pot off the heat, remove the lid, and let the rice cool.
In a large casserole dish combine:
3 eggs, beaten
3 cups milk
¾ cups sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
¾ cups raisins
1 generous tsp. cinnamon
Cooled, cooked rice
Place casserole dish in another larger, shallow dish (I use a glass pie plate) and fill the shallow dish about halfway with hot water. Cook, uncovered, in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes, or until custard is just set. Remove from oven. Cool. Consume.