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Aug 30, 2010 06:07 PM

Rice Pudding Question

So, I tried to make Mark Bittman's rice pudding recipe (from How to Cook Everything). I followed the recipe meticulously, but ended up with warm milk and undercooked rice. Should I have used cooked rice? Any suggestions? I can't figure out where I went wrong!


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  1. I haven't tried Mark Bittman's recipe but I've heard others complain about the same...soupy rice pudding after making his recipe. The recipe I use comes out thick and creamy. I'd be happy to post it if you're interested.

    3 Replies
      1. re: lizisinflatbush

        I'm making this for 100 this weekend but am doing Coconut Pineapple for a luau. You can play around with this recipe for variations; in this case I'm using coconut milk and toasted coconut. I've done it with dried cherries & walnuts, which was delicious! I admit, I baby this recipe by stirring more than I have to but the result is worth it.

        Creamy Rice Pudding

        1 1/2 cups water
        3/4 cup long grain rice
        3 cups milk
        1 cup heavy cream **
        1/2 to 3/4 cups sugar (depending on desired sweetness level)
        1/2 teaspoon salt
        1 egg, well beaten
        1 teaspoon vanilla extract

        Heat the water to a simmer in a 3 to 4 quart saucepan; stir in the rice. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the milk, heavy cream, and sugar until blended. Continue to cook mixture over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes to keep rice from sticking and keep starches moving.

        After 30 minutes, quickly stir in the beaten egg and vanilla then remove from heat, allowing residual heat to thicken mixture while you continually stir for 2-3 minutes.

        ** You can use all milk instead of adding the cream if that's all you have available. If you want it looser, add a bit more milk at the end once you add the egg. I've also made this recipe using reconstituted dry milk and it came out just as good as using fresh milk.

        1. re: Cherylptw

          Thank you! I'll let you know how it comes out when I make it!

    1. Don't know the recipe, but did you use whole milk or half and half? Did you use a short grain rice? Long grain will not absorb as much liquid or thicken as much. If there was egg in the mixture, your custard may not have heated up enough to thicken.

      Other than that, my only thought would be cook it longer to reduce the milk some more.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sbp

        I use long grain rice; the key is to cook it longer over a very low temp (my recipe is stovetop and it takes 45 minutes) so that it has time to absorb the liquid.

      2. If memory serves, my microwave version is 1/4 cup of long-grain white rice in a quart of milk, on low power until the right thickness is achieved. I revised it to add the sugar when it is about 3/4 done. Earlier and it caramelizes, which tastes great but might not be the color you want. A very little amount of salt can go in at any point.

        1. assuming you used the egg-free recipe on p. 662, you probably just didn't cook it long enough. you said you followed it "meticulously," but this particular recipe calls for judging doneness or "readiness" by sight and texture, not really by a specified cooking time. i know the time quote at the beginning of the recipe is 40 minutes, but since it's on the stove top, and everything from your flame to the heat conduction of your pan to the type of rice you used will affect how it cooks, the time isn't written in stone.

          also, i know the recipe says you can use long- or short-grain rice, but short-grain usually produces better, creamier results with rice pudding.

          2 Replies
          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            When I said "meticulously," I meant that I stirred it at the 30 minute marks he indicated for the first three "check-ins." Then I checked it every ten minutes afterward. I used short-grain rice. I looked for the swollen rice, the mostly liquid-y mixture, I went on "faith" that maybe it would thicken... I kept it in the oven for two and a half hours. I'm frustrated, because I've had such good luck with Bittman's recipes.

            1. re: lizisinflatbush

              I looked at the recipe, and it's not foolproof. It relies wholly on reduction of liquid through evaporation and thickening of the naturally ocurring starches in the rice. Both of which are very variable depending on the type of rice (and even among same type of rice, every batch is different), your oven, type of pan, type of milk, etc... I'd say try a different brand of rice and cook longer.

          2. One of the simplest ways to make rice pudding is to first cook the rice in a normal amount of water (roughly 2:1 ratio). I'd use a bit of salt, but not as much as for 'savory' rice (though this will also work with plain left over rice). As with normal cooking bring the water to a full boil, and cook on low for 20 minutes.

            Then add milk, sugar (and possibly other seasonings), and cook a low simmer, stirring periodically, till creamy (rice is soft, has absorbed much the milk, and released enough starch to thicken the rest).

            Butter can be added for richness. Beaten egg can be added to richness and some added thickening - follow the usual guidelines about tempering. But egg is not essential.

            Type of milk (whole, skim etc) and rice (long, short etc) is not critical. It will thicken regardless.

            If the rice is undercooked, it has not cooked long enough, and may not with enough heat (it should boil at some point or other).

            What I just described is roughly the 'no-egg' rice pudding in Bittman's Everything book (p662). I don't see mention of an oven, or '30 minute' checkins. Mine's the 1998 edition.

            3 Replies
            1. re: paulj

              I have the revised edition; I wonder if that's the difference? The same recipe is also here:

              1. re: lizisinflatbush

                that's not at all the same recipe that appears in the 1998 edition of How To Cook Everything.

                the one i have calls for 2 cups water, 1 cup rice, dash of salt, 2 cups milk, 3/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp ground cinnamon or cardamom...and it's cooked completely on the stove, no oven involved.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  @GoodHealthGourmet ** I noticed in another post discussing the Baby Cakes Bake shop in N.Y., you stated that the gluten baked goods were not that great.
                  I just found out that I must avoid gluten foods. I am at a loss as to where & how to start baking some goodie-cheats once in a while.
                  You mentioned that you bake much tastier gluten sweets. I was wondering if you have a web site, recipe book on the market or if you posted some of your recipes on this site for us to try.
                  I am totally scared to eat any of the baked goods from the stores due to all the bad press about taste.
                  I also don't know how to navigate on this site. I clicked on your screen name & it does not lead to a PM page. hmmm.
                  Please direct me to low cal, gluten free baked sweets that actually taste good.....I am craving something sweet to munch on that does not taste like cardboard. lololol