As a typical Australian gal, I grew up drinking a tall glass of milk at least once a day and often more. Similarly, one of my favourite desserts as a babe was just leftover cooked rice reheated in milk, with a few spoonfuls of sugar mixed in. Yes, I am aware that it sounds disgusting, but there is nothing like a warm, sweet bowl of milk-soaked carbohydrates. That’s what comfort food is to me – puddings. I certainly have not adopted the British quirk of referring to all desserts as “puddings”. Firstly, because I find it inexplicably irksome, and secondly if all desserts are puddings, then what would we call that very special category of warm, comforting, soft, delicious desserts? If everything is a pudding, then what would we call puddings, I say? Which brings me to this rice pudding. It’s going to be difficult, but I am going to try and make the case for this rice, as an anytime-of-day kind of food. Seriously. When you read the recipe, you’ll see that it’s just straight milk and rice, with some sugar stirred in at the end. Probably a lot less than you’d sprinkle on your weet-bix. The carnaroli rice is arborio’s slightly creamier cousin, so what you end up with here is a thick, creamy rice-studded porridge. Breakfast! If you can get behind a bowl of oat porridge in the morning, then you will love this rice first thing. Now that I’ve put the hard sell on you about breakfast pudding, I think I can ease up. The idea of eating creamy rice with sweet brown-sugar poached pears at any other time of the day just seems natural to me. Only this weekend, while the rain poured down here in Queensland, and the wind absolutely lashed against us, a shallow bowl of rice pudding and brown sugar pears brought a feeling of cosy safety. Later that evening after the rain had all fallen, and the steam had started to rise off the sodden ground, a bowl of cold rice pudding, drizzled with pear-scented brown sugar syrup was the perfect way to cool down, and assess the situation. I cannot extoll the virtues of this recipe enough. It’s so simple, a child could make it (in fact, this would be a great one to do with kids!*). It is simple and homey, but at the same time elegant and sophisticated. As at home at an elegant supper with friends, as it is scooped cold out of the fridge into a mug, and eaten with a tea spoon on the deck. I think a lot of Queenslanders may be in need for a little comfort at the moment. I strongly suggest rice pudding.
* I have no kids, so I really have no idea.
Sweet Rice Pudding
1oog carnaroli rice (or arborio)
500ml full cream milk
sugar to taste In a medium saucepan, place the rice and milk, and place over a medium-high heat. Bring the mix to a simmering point, and then turn it down to medium low, and let it blip away for around 30 minutes, or until the rice is beautifully tender. Be sure to stir the pudding every few minutes, to stop the rice from catching or the milk from burning.
Brown Sugar Poached Pears
4 paradise pears
1 cup brown sugar In a medium saucepan, combine the water and brown sugar and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, peel the pears. You can try and core them using a melon baller, but for pears this small, I simply left the cores in – the choice is yours! Place the pears in the liquid, and let them gently simmer for about 10 minutes. At this point any ripe pears should be done and can be removed and set aside, you can test them with a small paring knife, it should slide into the pear without much resistance. Unripe pears may take as much as 20 to 30 minutes to cook. Just keep simmering and testing as you go. Once the pears are all done, the remaining liquid should be brought to a boil, and then reduced down to a thin syrup, all the better for chilling and pouring over the pears and rice. This syrup is also excellent with pancakes!
seriously???? you kill me girl!!! i so in the mood for rice pudding right now!!! :)
Happy to be of service, Ana! You should totally make it – super easy!
Sarah!! This is pretty much my favourite dessert, ever (okay, maybe that’s too big a statement as I love desserts in general, but your photographs have overwhelmed my rational thought right now!). Love the sound of the brown sugar syrup… once the weather cools down (it’s still ridiculously hot here in W.A) I might give it a go with some added cinnamon (more akin to my childhood favourite, mmm). Thanks for the inspiration lovely!
I’m so glad I could inspire you! A sprinkle of cinnamon would be lovely, I think! Also, good luck with the heat, I wish you cool breezes and air conditioning.
Hehe that doesn’t sound so strange! I used to drink plain milk with lots of sugar. Perhaps that’s strange! :P And puddings to describe all desserts is a bit odd to my ears too :)
Haha! I’m sure I’d have done that too if my mum would have let me!
I love rice pudding. And poached pears WITH rice pudding? Sounds like the perfect match to me!!
Thanks Aimee! It is a big bowl of comfort, like a warm hug, wrapped in a doona, wrapped in something that smells like pears and sugar and warm milk.
Rice, cinnamon, sugar and milk was my childhood breakfast standby. Sometimes mom would put a little butter in there, too. Totally my comfort food – bad day? Ending it with this and a cup of tea just makes it better.
Simple foods are sometimes the very best.
Yum, that’s the breakfast of my scandi dreams! Cinnamon and tea are guaranteed soothers!
I love rice pudding and completely agree that the use of the word ‘pudding’ should only be used to describe warm, soft, melty desserts and not just anything that comes after dinner. There is something I find so comforting in the way the house smells when rice, milk and sugar are cooked together – it definitely reminds me of childhood. Looks delicious!
Looks like this is a definite cOmfort food choice for a lot of is. All hail the pudding!
Oh, I really love this. Barely sweet, poached pears, and cream too? Definitely perfect anytime.
Thanks Elizabeth! Holding the sugar in check is definitely the key here.
That is some fancy rice pudding. My mum use to make it when we were kids, it seemed to be either a little crunchy still or boiled the crap out of. We use to pour additional milk over the hot pudding and sprinkle over nutmeg.
Stunning photos, I may have to give this a whirl at some stage.
Haha! I know what you mean about the still crunchy rice! Nutmeg would be a great addition.
I loved rice puddings as a child. Mum used to make it for us every other week. My own kids won’t touch pudding so alas, it seldom gets made. Do you find that arborio rice has a bite to it if you don’t cook it over and above the recipe time? I have taken up making puddings with jasmine rice now after a few mishaps with arborio rice.
Your pudding makes me want to dig a spoon in the screen for a taste :-) xx
I do find that arborio retains a bit more of a bite than the carnaroli, definitely. But I’m so sad to hear you deprived of rice pudding, Sneh! You’ll have to convince those kids! Or just have a sneaky treat for yourself.;)
Rice pudding has not caught on enough in the States; I should try to change that! I absolutely adore it and I want my friends and family to, too!
Absolutely! Rice pudding for all, I say! World Domination!
Sarah, I simply LOVE rice pudding! I haven’t had it in SO long though. I think I need to change that. I’m inspired to make it again soon. Especially with poached pears. Yum!
I’m always happy to hear I’ve inspired someone to cook! Bring rice pudding back into your life; you’ll wonder why it ever went away.
WOW! It’s ten am and I am pining for a second breakfast after seeing this ha!
DO IT. Two breakfasts is always a good idea.
i usually make an indian rice pudding with rose water but i like trying variations. your version with poached pears looks beautiful!
I do love an Indian scented rice pudding. And the pears are a great pairing! (pun intended)
Wow this looks amazing :) thanks for the recipe! Growing up I didn’t really get the chance to eat many rice puddings ~ will need to make my own now since my mum never made it hehe
I used to make rice pudding so often, but I haven’t had it in YEARS! Thank you for the reminder, and the sweet blast from the past :)
Mmmm yum this looks beautiful! I absolutely adore rice pudding – sooo creamy good. Great idea having it for breakfast too, I’ve never thought of having it then, will have to give it a try!
You don’t have to sell me on anything about this – I reheat rice from the previous night’s dinner with almond milk and fruit for breakfast all the time! This sounds extra special :)
Ohhhh, yum! What a great idea!
Rice pudding and poached pears?! Oh my yum!