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May 20, 2013 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

The Sweet Scoop

I was planning to wait until mid-year to start sharing winter-pudding recipes, but it’s been so cold I can’t resist. I feel like for the last week I’ve been permanently freezing, wearing enough merino to coat four sheep, and penguin-huddling people. Much as I hate winter, one of the few really great things about it is all of the delicious puddings you can eat.

I’ve said an awful lot of rude things about classic English desserts. About the fact that no matter how many you put in, raisins and sultanas just aren’t that exciting. About the fact that no dish should ever be called ‘rock cake’ or ‘spotted dick’. Or contain suet. However, I’ve had to gradually abandon my prejudices. And although I’m still not at the stage where I’d call jam a bold culinary addition, I’ve got to the point where I think it’s just, well, nice.

One of these developments is that I really really like rice puddings. Some people write odes to Grecian urns, but I’d write one to rice pudding – hot, sticky, creamy and sweet. The rice pudding has somehow gained a pretty dire reputation, largely through an unfortunate combination of school dinners and canned creamed rice. When a rice pudding is made properly, it is quite astoundingly lovely. After more than an hour of cooking on low heat, the milk becomes very sticky and rich, taking on a faintly caramelised flavour. It is hot, cosy and simple, a perfect comfort food. It is also extremely easy, with only five minutes preparation and just three ingredients. All you need is a little advance preparation, because of the long cooking time. It isn’t something you can whip up quickly, but is totally worth the wait.


Rice Pudding (serves four):

50 g white rice
600 mL milk
2.5 tablespoons white sugar
Jam (optional, for serving)

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Combine all ingredients (except jam) in an oven-proof dish. Bake for an hour and a half, until there is a thick brown skin over the top and the rice has completely absorbed the milk. Remove from the oven, sit for a minute, then serve hot or cold. This is also great with a spoonful of jam on top.


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