We woke up this morning to a white skiff of snow everywhere. Actually, it is quite pretty...........if it were Nov., but in Seth's words, "Mom it is the 4th day of spring! I hate snow!!" Can't you just hear that lovely soft spoken 6 almost 7 year old, daintily whispering this in my ear? I don't think so. He was having a full on hissy fit that makes the rest of us Clawson's look tame. We're working on acting a little more "mysterious" at our house. I'll let you know how that turns out but until then I have to share a favorite treat. It's perfect for days that are a bit cold, but I admit I love this recipe in the middle of the summer as well.
Sunday night James and Jed (don't those two name remind you of the horses on Dances With Wolves. My dad thinks we named our children after animals in that movie.) had a late church meeting and as they walked out the door they exclaimed how they couldn't wait to see what yummy and delicious treats I would make when they got back. I really had no intentions of making dessert this Sunday. If I don't make them, I don't eat them, but all hell seems to break lose in their absence. So I set to work trying to decide what to make. Cookies, brownies, apple crisp (I didn't have any cream or ice cream so that was an easy no.) I wanted something different, and something that wasn't full of chocolate. (Can you imagine! That feeling does not come very often!) My granny's cookbook is always good inspiration, and I found what I was looking for. At the top of a well worn, and stained page I found one of my favorite rice puddings. I blogged about my favorite Christmas Rice Pudding last Christmas, but this is a perfect anytime rice pudding. I love it hot with a good sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar, but I also love to serve it cold at a summertime brunch or baby blessing or baptism with some raspberry jam.
Most of my kids don't love rice pudding or at least they didn't think they did. My red head decided to try it Sunday night and he loved it. Sometimes it just takes some growing up to appreciate the texture. At least that's what I'm told. I've always loved it, and James has as well.
When he was a kid his grandma Clawson lived across the street from his elementary. (It actually held all grades from Kindergarten to 9th grade and they were still just tiny.) James said he would love to run to his grandma's after school because she always had something good to eat. His favorite was her rice pudding. When he describes it, it doesn't sound much different than rice cooked with milk and sugar. I've tried to recreate his childhood memory but I haven't been able to master it. Ok actually I don't even come close James says. You know, maybe I shouldn't try. Even if I had the recipe I don't think it would be the same. I'm not grandma and James isn't a little boy in her cozy home anymore. I think it takes all those variables to recreate that rice pudding. James loved my rice pudding though Sunday. We all loved it. Give it a try. You do have to baby it a little bit so it doesn't scorch, but it is well worth it.
I was able to use my first vanilla bean in this recipe. I got a test tube of them in my stocking for Christmas. It actually made a mess. I cut it open, scraped the seeds out with a knife, got a lot of other undesirable pod guts, and then threw the vanilla pod in. I then got a whisk out and whisked the heck out of it and more pod guts started floating in the milk. Needless to say I strained all those lovely little vanilla seed out of the milk as well as the gross pod guts. I learned something though. Scrape the pod gently and don't add the scraped pod. You can add a whole pod and let it steep, but not a scraped one. Lesson learned and I hope it saved you a lesson to learn sometime too.
Granny's Perfect Rice Pudding
6 c. milk brought to a boil
add 3/4 c. long grain rice (I used Jasmine rice and I loved it!)
Bring the milk back to a boil and turn the heat to low. Slowly let it simmer on the stove uncovered for about 40 mins. I use a good heavy bottomed pan and that really helps prevent the milk from scorching. When the rice has absorbed most of the milk add:
1 c. cream or half and half
3 egg yolks
3/4 -1 c. sugar (I use 1 c.)
a pinch of salt
1 t. vanilla
I combine all these ingredients together and whisk until combined. Pour it in slowly to the hot rice mixture or better yet add a little rice to the cream and egg and "temper" the custard. We don't want scrambled egg in our rice pudding. pour the custard into the rice mixture and let it come to a boil. It will thicken slightly, but I take it off the stove when it has only been bubbling for 2 mins. or so. I take it off the stove when it is still quite wet. It thickens a lot as it cools. Serve warm with a grating of fresh nutmeg or a sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar or serve cold with raspberry jam. It's great leftover the next day for breaky too.