Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding

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This is turning out to be the summer of vanilla rice pudding. I’ve made this recipe – from food blogger Molly Wizenberg featured in bon appétit magazine – three times in the past two weeks, and as I write these words, another batch is burbling away on the stove. Eaten warm or icy cold from the refrigerator, it is rich and creamy and bursting with vanilla flavour, and we can’t get enough of it.

I’ve made the pudding twice with a vanilla bean and once with a generous tablespoon of Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon vanilla bean paste, which makes an excellent substitute if your store runs out of beans. I also threw in a fat cinnamon stick during the cooking of the last batch, making the flavours even more complex and mysterious.

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Vanilla beans run in the range of $10-$12 each, not unreasonable when you consider that it takes two years for the vanilla plant to produce its orchid flower, that pollination is done by hand, and that seed pods need another nine months to develop and several months of curing. Like fine wine, vanilla flavour is affected by terroir, the growing conditions, the timing of the harvest, and the particular curing process.

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I’m going to pack up some of this latest batch and take it to my Mom, who knows a good thing when she sees it. We’ll polish off the rest, probably by tomorrow.

Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding
This pudding, from food blogger Molly Wizenberg featured in bon appétite magazine, is divine - rich and creamy and fragrant with vanilla. It's delicious served warm or ice cold from the refrigerator on a hot day. If you're up for variations, add a cinnamon stick while the rice is cooking and/or garnish with raisins or fresh berries. It's so easy to make, you'll never need to eat gummy store-bought rice pudding again.
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups water
  • ¾ cup basmati rice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Instructions
  1. Bring 1½ cups water, rice and salt to a simmer in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover. Simmer until water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Add milk, cream, and sugar. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Increase heat to medium; cook uncovered until rice is tender and mixture thickens slightly to a soft, creamy texture, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes.
  2. Remove pudding from heat and discard vanilla bean. Divide pudding evenly among small bowls. Serve warm or press plastic wrap directly onto surface of each pudding and chill thoroughly. Pudding can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.
  • Serves: 6 to 8

4 thoughts on “Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding

  1. Czesia Lowman

    Love your blog. You are awakening my culinary thoughts, I have a yen to get some stuff “bubbling” away on the stove again.

    Reply

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