Grandma Mitt had a legacy of her own, and she was special to so many. Among her many talents, she was known for was her ability to whip up a killer rice pudding.
|Grandma's recipe and her fabulous retro tablecloth|
It was a dish that could often be found in her refrigerator, and I can picture my grandpa enjoying it after a day at work and a home-cooked meal. My grandpa worked in the same building as my dad in the latter part of his life (Retirement? Not for old Joe!). Often, Grandma Mitt would send Grandpa to work with a fresh tray of rice pudding (and maybe a Tupperware of fruit salad that she threw together) to pass along to my dad. She took care of her sons long after they flew the coop!
This rice pudding is a simple, old-school, and delicious dessert. It's consistent and reliable, but surprisingly not too sweet or heavy. It's made on the stovetop, so even your oven gets a break with this one. And the ingredients are easy and cheap too.
|Grandma didn't use vanilla bean, but I thought I'd jazz it up a bit.|
Upon hearing about my grandma's passing, my friend texted me, "...I will always have fond memories of her rice pudding at the shore." It was that positively pervasive, people!
For the last 8 years or so, my grandma suffered from Alzheimer's and she had to stop cooking altogether. Fortunately my aunt had her recipe recorded. Upon her passing, I was eager to try the recipe to recreate what so many of us enjoyed our whole lives, in some cases! When I tasted the final product, I was instantly transported to a time where she was with us, both in body and mind. What a delicious way to keep alive the spirit of someone so special.
Grandma's Rice Pudding (makes a 9x9 pan — serves about 9)
1 cup sugar
1 cup white rice
8 cups milk, divided (I used 1% milk, and it was great!)
1/8 tsp. salt
1 vanilla bean (or 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract)
Cinnamon for dusting
In a large pot, combine sugar, rice, 7 cups of milk, and salt. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring often to ensure the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. While the milk mixture heats up, split the vanilla bean in half and scrap each side, adding to the milk. Throw the bean pod into the milk mixture as well (they're expensive enough — might as well steep every ounce of flavor out of it!). (If you're using vanilla extract instead, add it along with the egg/milk mixture in the step below.)
|An easy, one-pot treat. Give your oven the day off!|
When the milk mixture comes to a boil, turn heat to low, cover, and cook about 50 minutes until milk is reduced and thickened and the rice is cooked. Be sure to stir occasionally as it simmers.
When rice is cooked, remove vanilla bean pod and set aside to cool. In a small bowl, combine eggs and remaining 1 cup of milk, and beat together (if you're using vanilla extract, add that now also). Add to the milk mixture on the stove, stirring as you add it. Turn heat up to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil again, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Once you can handle the vanilla bean pod, scrape any remaining vanilla goodness from the inside of the pod and discard.
Pour the rice pudding into a 9x9 pan (or serving dish of your choice) and dust generously with cinnamon. Chill in the refrigerator 1-2 hours, or until cooled and set, before serving. Delicious plain or with fresh berries!
Click here for a printable recipe!