There’s a short list of things that I can eat by the gallon full and I’m here to swing my arms in the air and tell you this is iiiittt! Rice pudding. Hello, sweet lover.
There is divinity in the simplicity of this dessert. It’s rice – double cooked with sweetened milk, stirred to thickened, stirred until you’ve worked yourself in a trance. Spooned into generous portions and chilled with patience. This particular pot flavored and fragranced with Earl Grey’s rounded bitter black tea and bergamot.
It’s simple and makes the case for over-cooked rice… really, as long as there is milk and sugar involved. There are few things more comforting.
In terms of eating things cold from the fridge (also knows as one of life’s great pleasures) cold rice pudding is up there with cold pizza.
Related: if you need me later – I’ll be at the fridge with a spoon.
For added sweetness and bite, and a bit of a pinky-in-the-air moment, this pudding can be brûléed with a kitchen blow torch… as if life couldn’t get any better.
Here’s what you’ll need to rice pudding. Let’s!
• a cup of white rice and some water to cook it in.
• sugar, plus a dash of salt for balance.
• a big pat of butter for richness and four cups of whole milk for creaminess.
• lemon zest and three Earl Grey tea bags.
We’ll start by cooking the rice.
Could you use leftover rice you have on hand? I really do think you could!
Water and rice into a generous saucepan.
We’ll also add salt to flavor the water.
And lemon zest, too! The lemon oils in the zest will make the most flavorful, fragrant rice.
It’s a rice pudding secret. Don’t skip it!
The rice will simmer, covered, until the water is absorbed. It takes about 15 minutes.
It takes a good amount of effort to not forget the rice. That’s important. Make yourself set a timer. I speak these words from experience.
Remove the rice from the pan, and let’s get this milk simmering.
Start by adding butter to the pan.
Add four cups of milk even though that seems like a lot. Trust the process.
Add three Earl Grey tea bags and loosely tie the bags to one of the handles.
Once the milk simmers, add the rice back to the pan and steep the tea bags for a good 10 minutes.
The milk will cook down and the rice will thicken. It takes about 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes or so.
There’s a balance in keeping the heat low but simmering without scorching the milk. You’ll find it!
Leave the rice pudding a little loose. It will thicken as it rests and cools in the refrigerator.
Spoon into tea cups because it feels both right and clever.
Allow the pudding to chill in the refrigerator at which point you can shovel it into your mouth with abandon (great great great idea) or you can sprinkle it with extra granulated sugar and torch it to crisp.
I promise, once you have a kitchen torch… you’ll righty want to brûlée everything.
Supreme comfort. We’ve landed.
Variation and Notes:
• If you’d like to make this recipe with brown rice, the proportions will be a bit different for cooking the rice initially. I made Brown Rice Pudding ages ago and you’re welcome to it.
• I use whole milk because it’s my favorite of all the milks – thank you fat! You could also use 2% milk for this recipe, but I would stay away from the completely fat free milk.
• You want to use a alternate milk? I know for sure that coconut milk rice pudding is a dream.
• You could absolutely substitute orange zest for the lemon zest. I wouldn’t even be mad at grapefruit.
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup long grain white rice
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 Earl Grey tea bags
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus more for topping and brûlée
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Stir in lemon zest, salt and long grain rice and return to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer the rice, covered, until all of the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
- Once rice is cooked, place it in a bowl and rise out pan. Add 4 cups of milk, sugar and tea bags to the pan. Bring to a low boil, stirring often so the milk doesn’t burn. Add the cooked rice to the hot milk. Stir often, until the milk cooks down. Remove the tea bags after 10 minutes of simmering. The rice will be creamy after about 20 minutes. Place in a large bowl or serving dishes to cool. Serve cold or at room temperature.
- Once cooled and just before serving, generously sprinkle the top of the pudding with granulated sugar. Use a kitchen torch to melt and caramelize this sugar into a crust. Serve immediately and enjoy!