Love it or hate it? Rice pudding is like Marmite in that it elicits very strong feelings in us Brits - there are those of us who absolutely adore it and those who can't stand the sight of it but there are very few of us who fall in between. I have a theory that this emotional response is somehow related to the old days of school dinners when bowls of luke-warm gloopy mush were served up with a dollop of (usually cold) jam by terrifying dinner ladies who would stand over you and make you eat every last disgusting grain of the stuff.
Although the thought of those days still makes me shudder I have to say that I now fall into the love it camp but that's only because I've found out that rice pudding can be a yummy, creamy and comforting dessert that seems light years away from the revolting, grey and lumpy mass I was served as a child.
This version is made as you would expect with milk, cream and sugar but has vanilla and lemon added which gives the rice a lovely summery, cheesecake-like flavour. I like to top it off with a simple sauce made from blackcurrant jam.
It can be eaten warm or cold but does firm up quite a bit if allowed to cool so more milk / cream may be needed when serving.
Summery Vanilla and Lemon Rice Pudding
Notes: This recipe is for a stove-top version of rice pudding but if you'd prefer to bake it, after stage 1 pour the mixture into an ovenproof dish and place it in a preheated cool oven at 140°C/ 275°F/ Gas Mark 1 for 30 minutes, take it out and stir it then put it back in for another hour.
I've included the instructions for the blackcurrant sauce at the end of the rice pudding recipe - this really can be made with any kind of jam / preserve you choose.
150ml double cream
Zest of 1 lemon
1 vanilla pod
15g caster sugar
150g short-grain pudding rice
1. Put the milk, cream and lemon zest into a saucepan. Split the vanilla pod lengthwise and add this to the pan. Heat gently to a simmer then add the caster sugar and rice.
2. Simmer for approximately 25 minutes, stirring regularly to ensure the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Try to squeeze most of the seeds from the vanilla pod into the rice as it cooks. When it is ready, the rice should be thick with a creamy consistency.
3. Remove the vanilla pod and serve either on its own or with the blackcurrant jam sauce below. If serving cold, spoon the rice into a bowl, cover with cling film and allow the rice to cool before chilling in the fridge.
Blackcurrant Jam Sauce
1tbsp blackcurrant jam
1tsp lemon juice
Put the jam, lemon juice and water in a small saucepan and heat until the jam has melted and the lemon juice and water have combined with the jam to make a fairly thin sauce. Drizzle over the rice pudding before serving.