real life test kitchen: cinnamon sugar rice pudding

I’m an utter cookbook junkie – I get more excited when a new one arrives at my house than just about anything else. Immediately, I start poring over the options, contemplating which delicious dish I’ll make first. Inevitably, this turns into a scour of my pantry and fridge, to see if I can possibly conjure the ingredients to make something right there on the spot. And almost every time, I come up empty-handed.

So, when I spotted the recipe for Joy Wilson‘s cinnamon rice pudding in her new Joy the Baker Cookbook, I jumped off the couch and started scavenging as usual. Milk? Check. Rice? Check. Wait…no eggs. No problem! No eggs in this recipe. I continued down the list, slowly realizing I’d hit the jackpot: a recipe I could actually make from what I had on hand. Imagine!

Turns out, this rice pudding is as delicious as it is accessible. True, I added a bit of rum and some raisins (rice pudding without raisins just feels wrong to me somehow), but the core recipe was delicious, sweet without being cloying, and packed with the warm flavor of cinnamon. In all, a total success, especially for something I whipped up at 8 pm on a Wednesday.

I’ve included a few of my tips in the recipe below, in italics so that you’ll know my nonsense from her expertise. But I would just add that this would be a particularly excellent use for leftover rice. Also, Joy claims this is 4-6 servings…but in my house, it was more in the 8-10 range, possibly even 12. I was eating rice pudding for days…which is never a bad thing.

Click through for recipe!

Cinnamon Sugar Rice Pudding
Joy Wilson

For the pudding:

2 c. water

1 t. orange zest

1/4 tsp salt

1 c. long-grain jasmine rice

3 c. whole milk

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1 t. cinnamon

2 T butter

{Optional: 3/4 c. raisins; 2 T dark rum or 2 t. vanilla}

For the topping:

1 t. cinnamon

3 T sugar

To make the pudding: in a large saucepan over medium heat, bring the water to a boil. Stir in orange zest, salt and rice, and stir. Return to a boil, cover the saucepan, and turn heat to simmer. Cook the rice until all the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Remove the cooked rice from the saucepan and place in a bowl. Using the same saucepan over low heat, warm the milk, sugar and cinnamon. If cinnamon clumps a bit just use a whisk to beat the clumps out. When the milk is warm and the sugar has dissolved, add the cooked rice back to the pot. {I opted to simplify this step by just adding the milk, sugar and cinnamon to the pan with the rice already in there. It worked out just fine…and saved a dish. Also, if you’re using them, add the raisins now.}

Stir often as the milk cooks down and the rice becomes creamy. This should take about 20 minutes {closer to 25-30, I thought}. Just as the rice pudding finishes cooking, stir in the butter {and the rum, if using}. Allow pudding to rest and cool before serving. I like serving this pudding cold from the fridge the following day. Stir in up to 1 cup more whole milk to loosen the pudding’s consistency the next day {if reserving over multiple days, only add milk to loosen the portion you’re eating}.

To make the topping: mix together topping ingredients. Scoop into small serving dishes to serve, and sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar mixture. {Use the leftovers on toast. Divine.}