Rice pudding is one of those desserts that we can find all over the world. From Lebanon to Egypt it is flavoured with rosewater or date syrup, while in Asia it is mixed with rice flour or made with coconut milk, bananas, pistachios or cinnamon. In Europe, people add eggs, together with cinnamon, lemon zest, apple sauce, sultanas, cherries or jam. The flavourings are endless, just use your favourite ones.
In Romania, rice pudding is a very popular dessert – although I used to eat it for breakfast too, freshly made or just the left overs from the previous dinner. Whether boiled or baked, depending on each family preference, the two must have flavourings are cinnamon and cherry jam. This is the traditional way. My mum used to make a perfectly white rice pudding, just set, creamy, sweet and comforting, that I have tried to replicate ever since I left home. It is only in the UK that I have found a trick – although it won’t keep the rice perfectly white.
The secret of this recipe lies in the three types of milk that I’m using, plus a bit of double cream. This is why I call it indulgent. You need to put just the right amount of condensed, evaporated and full fat milk. Then add the double cream. There is no need to add sugar. The condensed milk will give the sweetness, but also a slightly caramelised taste, a creamy almost gooey texture, the melt-in-the-mouth sensation.
125ml condensed milk
125ml evaporated milk
500ml full fat milk
110ml double cream
75g arborio rice
2tsp vanilla essence
orange zest from one orange
orange segment from the same orange
2tsp orange marmalade
Preheat the oven to 150C.
Melt the butter in a pan on low heat. After 3-4 minutes, add the rice and stir well to incorporate the butter. Allow another 3-4 minutes to cook.
Add all the milk and the double cream and gently bring to boil.
Add the vanilla essence
Transfer everything in a oven proof dish and keep in the oven for 40 minutes. It should have a light, milky, golden brown crust.
In the meantime, put the marmalade and the orange segments in a little saucepan. Heat them gently until combined well. Set aside to cool.
Serve: after the rice pudding has slightly cooled, sprinkle the orange zest on top and add the orange marmalade together with the orange segments in the middle.