-Nearly every culture has its version of rice
pudding. It’s a simple yet timeless dessert. This recipe makes a delicate rice pudding
that’s creamy and rich with a pronounced vanilla flavor. Let’s get started by cooking the rice.
Pour 1 cup of water into a medium saucepan over medium heat and add 3 quarters of a cup
of milk and 1 quarter of a teaspoon of salt. Bring the liquid to nearly the boiling point
and half a half cup of Arborio or long-grain rice– Arborio has a higher starch content,
so it will give you a creamier pudding– and 1 teaspoon of butter. Stir the mixture. Bring
it to a boil then reduce the heat to very low and cover the pan. Allow it to simmer
until it’s thick and nearly all of the liquid is gone about 25 to 30 minutes. Rice can burn
easily so keep a close eye on it and give it a stir every 5 minutes at the end of the
cooking time. Meanwhile, pour 1 cup of half and half into a small saucepan over medium
meat. You can substitute light cream if your prefer. Now, for the vanilla flavor, take
half of a vanilla bean, slice it in half lengthwise, and use a paring knife to scrape out the seeds.
Add the seeds to the cream and heat it to just boiling. As an alternate, you could use
vanilla extract instead, but then it gets added later. In the meantime, to 2 egg yolks
in a medium bowl, add a third of a cup of sugar and whisk them together. Next, gradually
whisk in the heated half and half. Return the half and half mixture to the saucepan
and cook it, stirring constantly until it thickens and coats the back of the spoon about
3 to 5 minutes. Now, you’ll pour the sauce over the cooked rice and the bowl and stir
together. If you’re using vanilla extract instead of the vanilla bean, this is where
you’ll add it. Just a teaspoon of it. The rice pudding is ready to serve warm or you
can cover and chill it for several years or overnight. The pudding will continue to thicken
as it cools. So, if needed, you can stir in a touch of half and half if you’d like right
before serving it. Rice pudding is an easy dessert to dress up. You can serve them in
individual glass dishes and sprinkle them with the dash of cinnamon or simply top with
some beautiful fresh fruit.