Monday, January 10, 2011

Mom's rice pudding

Rice Pudding
Mama’s Tea Cakes 101 Delicious Soul Food Desserts Copyright 1998

2 cups whole milk
2 cups cooked white long grain rice I used River rice which I think is medium grain
½ cup dark raisins
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon I left this out of the pudding itself
¼ teaspoon ground allspice I left this out
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, well beaten at room temperature
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg I used cinnamon on top instead

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium heavy saucepan, heat the milk until warm but do not boil. Remove it from the heat, add the rice, raisins, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, vanilla, and eggs and mix well. I mixed the eggs and sugar, slowly added the hot milk, then added the rice and raisins.

Pour the mixture into a 1 ½-quart nonstick casserole dish and place the casserole dish in a 13x9-inch pan filled with 1 inch of water. Sprinkle the top with nutmeg cinnamon and bake for 30 minutes. Lightly stir the pudding and bake for an additional 15 minutes (I didn't stir - I don't think Mom did) or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

We serve this with Cool Whip.

Serves 8.

Growing up we always had baked rice pudding as our Christmas Eve dessert. We had a traditional Polish meatless meal on Christmas Eve - mushroom and potato soup, cabbage, fish (later shrimp too), a variety of pierogies, and baked rice pudding for dessert. To be honest, the rice pudding was never anything I craved or thought about other than on Christmas Eve, probably because I just took it for granted and also because holiday recipes are really more special if you just eat them on the holidays.

I started spending Christmas Eve with my husband's family after we married. They served a similar meal but they take it a step further with the no-meat thing and don't even eat dairy on Christmas Eve so no rice pudding there. My parents started spending Christmas Eve with my sister's family where the menu was a little different and I don't think my mom made the rice pudding in years except maybe once or twice my immediate family snuck in our traditional Christmas Eve dinner right before Christmas, as an additional celebration, since we all missed that traditional meal.

But, that rice pudding was the first thing on my mind after my mother died. She never left the recipe but I knew the basic technique. I bought this cookbook months before my mother died and when I saw this recipe, I thought this is basically my mother's recipe and made a mental note to make it at some point. I could have asked my mom for her recipe at that point but I really didn't think about it until it became a reality that she could be dying. And then, it just didn't seem right to ask.

And she may not have had an actual recipe although I imagine she must have used some standard amounts. For years, my mother's brother's wife would call her at Christmas for the recipe since I guess Uncle Frank never got the recipe from Grandma. It was kind of a standing joke that my aunt would call every year instead of permanently writing it down. Isn't that nice, though, to hear from someone every time they want to make one of your recipes? I think it is.

For years I made my mom make a raisinless bowl of this for me but I do like the raisins in this now and eventually learned to like them in her rice pudding since she stopped making the plain bowl after a while. Yes, my mother used bowls. I don't remember her having any flat-bottomed baking dishes (besides cake pans) until the later years. Any type of baked casserole was made in a round bowl as far as I can remember.

So how close to my mom's rice pudding was this? Pretty close. It isn't stirred so you get a nice layer of custard on top and creamy rice on the bottom. I don't remember her's being as sweet but I could just be remembering a time that she ran out of sugar. She was unlikely to have run out for more on the fly if she was a bit short (I would!). It's definitely as inconsistent as my mom's. All of my mom's cooking was a bit inconsistent and her rice pudding was no different. I remember at least once it didn't set right. I've made this a few times, the first batch, then for my family when we were preparing my Mom's funeral, Christmas Eve since I'm spending that at my sister's now, and one more time because I had rice leftover and it was different each time. I think the main difference was the rice. I used River rice like my mom used and I'm not used to cooking starchy rice. It was gummier on Christmas Eve than I would have liked. I will take more care with it next year. Yes, it's time to file this one away under 'Holidays Only'.

P.S. I thought it was kind of funny that I found our family recipe in a Soul Food dessert cookbook but this recipe is good for the soul, at least in my family, especially now.

Question of the Day: What are some of your family's special recipes? I'm not asking for the actual recipes, just name some of them.


Angie's Recipes said...

I am still not quite used to a rice dessert...but I have to admit that I am totally tempted with your rice pudding. Yummy!

naddiya said...

i will for sure try this as it seems yummy

Annie Jones said...

Oddly, I can't think of any special family recipes right now.

We grew up eating rice almost exclusively as a breakfast cereal with milk and sugar on it, like you would eat oatmeal. We very occasionally had Rice-A-Roni with supper, but my mom never cooked plain rice as a savory side dish. She would, however, use leftover rice from breakfast to make rice pudding.

The Cookbook Junkie said...

So funny Annie because we would eat the rice she had left over from making the rice pudding with milk and sugar. I ate some of it like that when making this rice pudding last month.

Cyndi said...

Old family favorites: Nanna's Pecan Pie, Burnt Sugar Cake, Chicken Spaghetti, and Texas Goulash. My favorite is the burnt sugar cake, made by caramelizing sugar twice - once for the cake and once for the fudge-like frosting. I really like the rice-pudding recipe and will attempt it with Splenda. I'll let you know how it turns out!

Be Strong in the Lord said...

Old family favorites? pecan pie, sweet potato casserole, pinapple casserole, and cornbread dressing.

Chef Jay said...

Mom's recipes are the best! I remember the canning salsa recipes my mom taught me. My friends and family love it too. Thanks.