My boys have always been huge fans of rice pudding. I have to confess it remains a guilty pleasure of mine, but these days I only get to clean out the tin after I've served up their desserts! Whilst we're away on half term and being blown around by the lovely south coast winds, it felt like a yummy warm homemade pud was just what we all needed and my youngest wanted to have a go at making this favourite.
Whilst rice pudding is not difficult to make (you just need some patience for the baking) and a great recipe for children to have a go at, we decided to add some flavours different to our usual tinned variety. I adapted one of Donna Hay's recipes and we made Almond and Vanilla Rice Pudding, baked in the oven and served with a healthy drizzle of maple syrup.
I've used cup measurements here as I think when baking with children (especially young ones) it's easier to measure the ingredients with cups when learning to bake, before they move on to scales and weights.
We used arborio rice and whilst this would usually be enjoyed as a risotto, it gave a nice puddingy consistency to the final dessert. Instead of using cow's milk, we decided to use a carton of unsweetened almond milk instead and this added a really lovely nutty flavour - together with the seeds of a vanilla pod and the vanilla pod itself which was baked with the pud before being removed at the end. We also added sugar as I was following a lead from the original recipe but I think next time, I'd be inclined to leave this out and just sweeten with the maple syrup at the final serving.
The baking of the pudding took a lot longer than I thought (probably around 45 minutes) so I suggest leaving plenty of time for the rice to absorb the almond milk - I kept an eye on it for the last 45 minutes and although it was more fluid than the tinned variety, we actually preferred it this way.
The boys LOVED it and I'd definitely make it again for them - it's the kind of wonderful, warming bake that you can throw together in minutes and leave in the oven to slowly develop its loveliness.
The perfect winter warmer for half term :)
Baked Vanilla and Almond Rice Pudding
- ½ CUP ARBORIO RICE
- 1 LITRE OF UNSWEETENED ALMOND MILK
- ½ CUP CASTER SUGAR (to taste)
- 1 VANILLA POD (seeds scraped from this but also the pod itself)
- Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees (fan)
- Scatter the arborio rice over the base of a 2 litre capacity dish
- Stir together the milk, caster sugar (if you choose to use this) and vanilla seeds and pour over the rice
- Add the vanilla pod
- Cover with tin foil and bake in the oven for an hour
- After an hour, remove the foil and bake for a further 30 to 60 minutes, checking after 30 minutes to see how much of the milk has been absorbed
- When you're happy with the consistency, remove from the oven and remove the vanilla pod
- Serve warm with a healthy drizzle of maple syrup - and if you like, an unhealthy dollop of cream: )