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Why did my rice pudding fail?

I had a quart of whole milk, something I rarely keep in the house, that was expiring and decided to make rice pudding. I went out and bought medium grain rice, as I thought my arborio and Uncle Ben's wouldn't fare well. I followed the recipe on the box, except doubled it:

1 qt. whole milk
2 cups medium grain rice
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup sugar
4 beaten eggs

Boiled rice, milk, spices, raisins and sugar for 15 minutes as per directions with lid on. Beat up 4 eggs, poured some rice mixture into eggs to temper and then all back into pot. Left on stove another 10 minutes with heat off. Covered with foil to serve at room temperature after dinner for 90 minutes. When it came time to serve it, the rice was really, really al dente, almost crunchy, and stuck together really hard, not creamy. Didn't resemble anything near rice pudding that I am familiar with. Thank goodness ingredients were pretty cheap, threw the whole thing away! What happened? Anyone have a better recipe (one that is foolproof)??

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  1. I start with cooked rice, and I make it more like a flan or custard. I put the rice in a buttered casserole and then pour the warm egg/sugar/milk/spice liquid over it. I bake it, uncovered, in a hot water bath at 325 degrees, until the custard is set (the time depends on the quantity I make). I like to use basmati rice (white or brown works) -- it gives it a little extra flavor.

    1. Sounds to me like your rice didn't cook.
      I've always made my rice pudding with cooked rice, as opposed to uncooked. I'm not sure if that's the difference or not. I would imagine that it would take a bit longer than 15 minutes of simmering to make the uncooked rice tender. That's my only guess!
      I'll look for the recipe I've used when I get home and post it.

      1. Definatley just needs way more than 15 minutes of initial simmer time. I've not made rice pudding in anything less than industrial sized batches (for 200+ people) in a while, but if you're starting with uncooked rice, you need to simmer it with the milk (and spices/sugar) until it is nearly cooked. Not fully done...you don't want to end up with mush, but pretty close.

        I also don't use eggs...but that's just me. My version ends up as more of a sweet risotto then a custard in texture. Either way, just simmer longer for the intial cook stage.

        1. Proportions of the recipe look funny. The recipes that I have been using call for cooking the rice in the normal 1:2 ratio (1 cup rice, 2 water) till the water is absorbed (e.g. 15min), then adding that to milk (at least 4 cups for this amount of rice), and cooking that till creamy. Eggs and butter can be added near the end for extra richness and thickening. Of course include the sugar and spices. Your recipe might work if you started with 2 cups of COOKED rice.


          1. Similar problem happened to me...use cooked rice next time.

            1. Yeah, agreed-- sounds like the rice cooking instructions were off. (Would allow longer to cook fully)
              The proportions of the rest are probably OK for a very very custardy rice pudding-- 4 cups milk to 4 eggs is within the normal parameters of a custard (particularly if the rice will be absorbing a bit). I'd just use hot rice (reheat if leftover), and put this recipe in a buttered 2 quart casserole (so you can spread out the rice and not have it all in the bottom of a deeper dish) and bake in a water bath.

              1. In addition to the recipe calling for much more rice than necessary, I think cooking the raw rice with sugar affected the way it absorbed the liquid. If I was starting with raw rice, I'd add the sugar after it was cooked. Also the raisins probably soaked up some of the liquid that should have gone into the rice. Start with 2 cups of cooked rice in that recipe and it should work.

                1 Reply
                1. re: babette feasts

                  While you do need to add a bit more liquid than the standard 2:1 water/rice ratio when you are cooking with straight milk, the sugar won't affect the ability of the rice to cook fully. I make rice pudding just by dumping milk directly into uncooked rice plus sugar and spices and then simmering it until the rice is nearly done and the rice cooks up just fine. Unfortunately, I can't give you the ratio I use, because I don't have the recipie to hand and I'm used to making it in ridiculous amounts. (i.e. several gallons of milk)

                2. I always use my grandfathers ercipe and it has NEVER failed. V. simple, too. One quart whole milk, one cup long grain rice. Combine in a heavy bottomed pot and cook over low heat, stirring often, until mixture thickens - about 30 minutes. Once ixture starts to thicken, add sugar and one tablespoon vanilla and a shake of cinnamon and concinue cooking to desired consistency. Takes about an hour in total and is nce and creamy.

                  1. This evening I had less than a cup of left over rice (plain arborio) in the rice cooker. I added water to cover it well, and put it back on the heat. As it got hot I loosened up the crust stuck to pan bottom. Then I transferred it to sauce pan on the stove top, added some reconstituted dried milk, and sugar and raisins, and cooked it till creamy and started to thicken (about 1/2 hr on low heat). Adjusted the sugar, added grated nutmeg and ginger. Voila - 'Instant' rice pudding :-) No measuring, or special technique. And a clean rice cooker to boot.