Dad's Favourite Rice Pudding

My Dad isn't really what I call a "sweet tooth", but every now and then, he does love good homemade, old school favourites like raisin pie, buttertarts and of course, rich and creamy rice pudding. I can remember if we had leftover rice, my Mom would whip up this classic treat for my Dad, while my brother and I would ask what we were going to have for dessert?! Usually, Mom would explain that "this isn't a short order restaurant" and Brad and I would end up picking away at the rice pudding, holding our breath through each bite of raisin! It's funny how our tastes change because now, I look forward to making this comforting dish for my family...even when Isabel asks what she is having for dessert!

Even though, my Mom used to make her rice pudding with leftover rice, I like to make mine with Arborio rice...the kind that you use to make risotto ("Arborio" is an Italian short grained rice that has more starch than "normal" rice and it makes a nice creamy texture for your pudding). Along with the rice, you will need heavy cream (35%), milk, vanilla extract, granulated sugar, a pat of butter, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins and a bit of rum.

First, in a separate bowl, combine a 1/4 cup of rum...

...a 1/2 cup of boiling water and a 1/2 cup of raisins...set aside and let the raisins soak while you prepare the rest of the pudding.

In a small saucepan, over high heat, bring 1-1/2 cups of water and 3/4 cup of rice to a boil...reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes...most of the water will be absorbed at this point and the rice may seem slightly underdone. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, add 1 cup of whole milk (or 2% is fine too)...

...1-1/4 cups of heavy cream (35%)

...a 1/2 cup of granulated sugar,

...1 tbsp. of butter and a 1/4 tsp. of salt.

Set mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has melted...Next add in the prepared rice.

...pour in 2 tsps. of vanilla extract,

...add the raisins,

...a 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon and a 1/4 tsp. of nutmeg...let mixture simmer, stirring accasionally...

...until some of the liquid has been absorbed and pudding is creamy (about 10-15 minutes)...the pudding will thicken up as it cools and become quite thick the following day.

Serve warm with a sprinkling of nutmeg...whipped cream is always a good addition to this pudding as well...or for any dessert, now that I think about it! If the pudding becomes too thick, you can always add a bit more milk to loosen it up before serving. Enjoy!

Dad's Favourite Rice Pudding

1/2 cup of raisins

1/4 cup of rum (optional)

1/2 cup of boiling water

3/4 cups of Arborio rice

1-1/2 cups of water

1-1/4 cups of heavy cream (35%)

1 cup of whole milk (or 2%)

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

1 tbsp. butter

1/4 tsp. of salt

2 tsp's of vanilla extract

1/2 tsp.of cinnamon

1/4 tsp.of nutmeg

1. In a small bowl, combine the rum, boiling water and raisins...set aside and allow the raisins to soak while you prepare the rest of the pudding.

2. In a small saucepan, over high heat, bring the water and rice to a boil...reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, remove from heat and set aside.

3. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, add the milk, cream, sugar, butter and salt...stir occasionally until the sugar melts.

4. Add the prepared rice, raisins, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg...let simmer for about 10-15 minutes (stirring occasionally) or until some of the liquid has been absorbed and mixture is creamy (the pudding will thicken up as it cools).

Serve warm...enjoy!

* store leftovers in the fridge...the pudding will be quite thick the following day...add a bit of milk to the pudding to reach desired consistency.