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in the kitchen: nanny’s rice pudding

February 15, 2012

A visit to my maternal grandma, known to us grandkids as Nanny, always includes (repeated) offerings of ice cream, Milano cookies, and a dish filled with lemon drop candies. But on special or not-so-special occasions, if we are lucky, a white casserole dish of rice pudding might be sitting on the counter awaiting our arrival.

Nanny and Papa after the war in the late 1940s.

When I moved to New York, I was surprised to see that rice pudding is generally a liquidy dessert eaten with a spoon rather than the custardy squares I enjoyed at Nanny’s house.

There’s nothing better than a slice of this rice pudding with a little milk for breakfast. Or as an afternoon snack. Or dessert. Or picked at with a fork throughout the day until it’s gone…

Nanny’s Rice Pudding

1 cup of white rice (1 cup of uncooked rice, or roughly 2 cups when cooked)
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 dash nutmeg
peel of half a lemon, zested
2 eggs
1 cup of milk (Nanny might not approve, but I had soy milk in the fridge so I used that)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 and lightly grease a 9×9 glass pan (or any similar baking dish you have on hand).

Cook one cup of rice according to the instructions on the bag (generally 2 cups of water to 1 cup rice). Let the rice cool down a bit before continuing. This recipe is a great way to use up leftover rice from takeout or another meal, so you could also use about 2 cups of already-cooked rice rather than starting from scratch.

Put the rice in your greased baking pan and mix in the raisins.

Grate or zest the rind of 1/2 of a lemon, and add this to your rice mixture. Mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar, making sure to distribute the ingredients evenly throughout the rice. You can take a taste at this point and add more sugar if you’d like it a bit sweeter.

In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. Slowly pour this into your pan over the rice mixture. The liquid should just barely cover the rice. If you don’t have enough liquid, add a bit of extra milk so that the rice is covered.

In order to get the proper custard consistency, you’ll need to create a water bath. Place your rice-filled baking dish in a larger pan (I used a metal sheet cake pan) and put them in the preheated oven. Carefully fill the larger pan with water until the water comes up to about one inch from the top of your glass pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes until the pudding has firmed up and a knife comes out clean. Remove the glass dish carefully without spilling the hot water on yourself!

Rice pudding doesn't photograph so well, but trust me, it's delicious.

Let your pudding cool and then pop it in the fridge. You can slice the pudding into squares and eat it plain, or pour a little milk over it in a bowl. I like to keep a fork in the dish in the fridge and snack on it throughout the day, every time I walk into the kitchen…

No one can make this quite like Nanny can, but I think my version turned out pretty darn well. I think she’d be proud.

What’s your favorite food from your childhood? Let me know in the comments!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 15, 2012 6:10 PM

    Wow I’ve never seen rice pudding like this! The way my mom and I make it is the traditional mexican rice pudding and its a runny, liquid dessert you put in a cup and eat with a spoon. I can’t wait to try this recipet!

  2. Mary permalink
    March 23, 2012 10:27 PM

    Snot Popcorn of course. Just made it the other day – the popcorn cooked in spicy garlic oil, resulting in just the right amount of sweet, salty and savory. Is there better comfort food?

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