This week, we’re sharing a dish that has made its way around the globe: rice pudding.
Rice pudding is made of rice — usually white rice that can be short or long grain — mixed with milk, cream or water and flavorings, often cinnamon and raisins. Other popular ingredients include egg yolk, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, honey, vanilla, almond, pistachio, dates, orange, lemon and other fruits. The dish can be sweetened and served as a dessert or served as a sweet or savory meal.
According to foodtimeline.org, its origins can be traced back to grain pottages of the ancient Middle East, and it has long been associated with good nutrition and digestion.
The dish is especially popular in Asia and Latin America, where rice is a staple. In Asia, forms of rice pudding (or rice porridge) span from put chai ko in Hong Kong to kiribath in Sri Lanka. In Latin America, arroz con leche is a mainstay, with variations including orange peel and raisins soaked in rum, sherry or tequila in Mexico; and coffee, butter, vanilla, cinnamon and cloves in Colombia. Cultures around the world have embraced the pudding. In Israel, it is often flavored with rosewater; in Sweden, it's a Christmastime staple; and in Jamaica, toasted coconut and crushed pineapple are likely to make an appearance.
This recipe, from Ina Garten, ups the ante on traditional rice pudding by adding a splash of dark rum.
Rum Raisin Rice Pudding
Ingredients yields 6 to 8 servings
3/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons dark rum
3/4 cup white basmati rice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 cups half-and-half, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1 extra-large egg, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
In a small bowl, combine the raisins and rum. Set aside.
Combine the rice and salt with 1 1/2 cups water in a medium heavy-bottomed stainless steel saucepan. Bring it to a boil, stir once and simmer, covered, on the lowest heat for 8 to 9 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed. If your stove is very hot, pull the pan halfway off the burner.
Stir in 4 cups of half-and-half and sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, until the rice is very soft. Stir often, particularly toward the end. Slowly stir in the beaten egg and continue to cook for 1 minute. Off the heat, add the remaining cup of half-and-half, the vanilla and the raisins with any remaining rum. Stir well. Pour into a bowl, and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming.
Serve warm or chilled.