real life test kitchen: irish rice pudding

(from Everyday with Rachael Ray)

shelterrific_ricepuddin2.jpg

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to cook up something Irish. Most Celtic-themed recipes I found involve a lot of meat and/or beer and/or whiskey. With spring in the air, I opted for something a little sweeter, and made Irish Rice Pudding from the current issue of Rachael Ray Magazine. I love rice pudding, but admit I only order it on occasion and never dreamt of making. This recipe seemed easy enough to give it a whirl… perhaps too easy! — Angela M. Click through to the next page for the rest of this recipe review!

First, you bring three cups of whole milk to a simmer on the stove. Then you stir in 2/3 cup of sugar and one cup of rice. The recipe specifies “Arborio rice” which I couldn’t find, so I used plain ol’ long grain. My first mistake, perhaps? Once the sugar is dissolved, pour it into shallow pan, and put in an oven heated to 300 degrees — cover it with foil, loosely. After a half an hour, stir, and cook some more ’til rice is tender. The recipe estimates that will be about a half an hour, but my rice was still crunchy after 45 minutes. The milk was nearly all soaked up, so I pulled it out, and added in the last cup of milk (as called for in the recipe) and currants.

In hindsight, I’m wondering: Wouldn’t the whole thing have been better with a little more flavor? Maybe some vanilla or cloves in step one? My rice never really got completely tender, but it was good enough, and did taste better after pouring on the final ingredient, Irish Cream. But, I have to say, my homemade rice pudding was not nearly as good as what I have had in some diners.

Click here to see Rachael Ray’s Irish Rice Pudding recipe. What am I missing? Any suggestions? Do you have an Irish recipe you love? Please tell me about it!

Photo by Chad Hunt

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Alison

Arborio rice is extra starchy and makes a nice creamy pudding, which unfortunately long grain rice doesn’t. Any short grain rice would probably work better. And yeah, a dot of vanilla extract probably wouldn’t hurt on your next attempt….damn, now I want rice pudding.

Ashley

You would want to wait to add the vanilla because otherwise it would cook off, but yeah, I would definitely suggest it. Also, a touch of cinnamon and a maybe some cloves simmered in the pan wouldn’t hurt. And I love rice pudding with slivered almonds.

Megan

Someone gave me a spare copy of the RR issue with this recipe. Instead of using bailey’s, I soaked golden raisins in brandy. I also added a pinch of salt.

It was the first time I ever tried making rice pudding, but it came out pretty well.

corby kummer had a similar recipe in the atlantic monthly back in the fall:

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/prem/200701/kummer-pudding

stovetop rice pudding is actually ridiculously easy to make, and goes with just about every cuisine. cook some rice like you usually do. then add one part of milk to one part of cooked rice, plus sugar/honey/maple syrup and vanilla to taste, and simmer until you have a delicious sludge, about 20 minutes. in the last 5 minutes you can add raisins, cinnamon, or nutmeg if you like. for an indian flavor, add raisins, cardamom, cinnamon, and pistachios. or walnuts and toasted cherries, persian-style. cook the rice with coconut milk instead of water and spice with allspice to go with caribbean food. a little lemon or orange zest goes with most european cuisines. lime would be neat, although i’ve never had it that way. it’s really quite infinitely variable.

Dinah

Just a thought…
How about substituting some of the milk with irish cream flavored coffee creamer? :)

If going to bake it, I think you need arborio rice because it absorbs at a different rate. I prefer stove top and cooking the rice first to assure tenderness.

tyler

You need to cook the rice in the milk, THEN add sugar. If you cook the rice in sugar-milk it will not get soft.

Mike

I make rice on the stovetop. Just take a big pan and layer the bottom with rice. Put in a half gallon on milk and 2/3 a cup of rice and let it simmer till it is just rice. (about 30 minutes, stirring so occasionally so it does not boil over). Then add another 1/2 gallon of milk and let it simmer for another 1/2 hour or so, until it is mostly rice. Add a tablespoon of real vanilla and put in a bowl. It is the best rice you will ever taste!

Mike