For me, the trick with rice pudding is to cook the rice low and slow in enough liquid to make it really tender. You can switch up the vanilla here and use spices instead, if you prefer, like cardamom, cloves or star anise – just be sure to take them out before serving!
In my eyes the only way to serve rice pudding is to run crème anglaise through it. I like a ratio of 1:1, as do a lot of the people I’ve fed this to. The custard adds another layer of decadence to an already fantastic pudding so do go to the extra effort here! It’s also really good with a dollop of jam or Crab Apple Jelly in the middle or rum-soaked raisins, roasted figs and ginger biscuit crumbs.
Time: 20 minutes + 1 hr 50 minutes
Photography: Jessica Griffiths
Styling: Annie Rigg
Season: Year Round
For the rice pudding:
20 g unsalted butter
85 g pudding rice
70 g caster sugar
350 ml whole milk
400 ml double cream
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped pinch of salt
1/2 batch Crème Anglaise (see right), to serve
For the crème anglaise:
500 ml whole milk
500 ml double cream
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
120 g caster sugar
6 egg yolks (ideally 20g each)
Put the butter into a large heavy-bottomed ovenproof pan (ideally one that has a lid). Melt the butter over a medium heat until slightly brown and smelling a bit nutty.
Add the rice and sugar and stir to coat all the grains. Pour in the milk and the cream and stir. Add the vanilla and salt and stir again.
Bring to a slow simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice starts floating in the liquid.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 110°C fan/130°C/gas mark 1.
Cover the pan with a lid or foil and put this into the oven for 1 hour, uncovering and stirring every 20 minutes. Uncover completely and cook for a final 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the crème anglaise. Stir together the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan with half of the sugar to start with and place over a medium heat. (Using only half the sugar first stops the milk from catching.)
In a separate heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar to combine.
When the milk is steaming hot and just about to come to the boil (do not let it boil), slowly pour roughly two thirds of it over the yolks, whisking vigorously as you pour, until smooth and combined.
Pour the yolk mix back into the pan over a low heat with the remaining milk and whisk well to incorporate.
Get rid of your whisk and switch to a spatula. Basically you’re now aiming to gently bring it to 82°C, no biggie. Just keep the heat low and gently stir with your spatula for about 5–7 minutes. Once the bubbles start to disappear, you’re nearly there. Remember, you have control over this, so take it off the heat and stir for a bit if you need.
When the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon it’s ready.
Remove the vanilla pod and stir half the hot crème anglaise through the rice pudding just before plating up. The pudding will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Re-heat thoroughly before eating, or enjoy cold.
Pour the remaining custard into a bowl and leave to cool over an ice bath before storing in the fridge.
We’ve got Rav to thank for much of our lockdown baking and new-found pastry expertise. The Pastry Chef’s Guide is the culmination of years of her working in some of London’s best bakeries and restaurants, garnering knowledge which she has put into a simple, hilariously funny book that is pretty much essential kitchen reading.
— cook’s notes
Tip: If your custard looks like it is anywhere near on the verge of splitting, remove from the pan to a bowl over an ice bath and use a hand blender to blitz it. This will emulsify the ingredients and rescue it.