Baked Rice Custard

Rice pudding is such a comfort food for me.  It is always so wonderfully creamy, rich and just slightly sweet.  Rice pudding is perfection in a bowl…or on a plate I guess if you like it that way.

Rice pudding has an incredible number of variations.  It is eaten in many different parts of the world.  Each type of rice pudding uses slightly different ingredients and flavors, but most come together in the same way and have similar textures.  In Sweden, rice pudding (Risgrynsgröt) is eaten at Christmas.  Coincidentally, Christmas is when my family eats rice pudding…we just can’t shake those Swedish traditions!

I’ve made rice pudding using the recipe given to me by my mom.  It is delicious.  We have always, and will always, eat this delicious dish cold sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, which is also traditionally Swedish.

I did not know until later in life that there were many ways to eat rice pudding.  You can eat it warm or cold.  You can eat is plain, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, served with fruits or fruit sauce, with or without raisins and nuts, or if you live in Iceland you might top off your pudding with blood sausage.  I will stick to cinnamon sugar.

Most rice puddings include these basic ingredients which are used as a springboard for all types of puddings:

  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Sugar (or some sweetener)
  • Flavoring (vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.)

What about eggs, you ask?  My family has never used eggs.  I never even really considered the use of eggs in rice pudding, until I came across a rice custard recipe.  Being one who enjoys trying new things, I decided to make this Scandinavian baked rice custard this past weekend.  Could it live up to real rice pudding?  Or would it surpass all my expectations and be…God forbid…better than “real” rice pudding?

This rice custard was definitely different than rice pudding but definitely delicious.  I liked the texture that the eggs provided.  It kept its shape when served, unlike my mom’s rice pudding which had a tendency to spread a little.  The flavor was incredible.  The combination of the vanilla and almond extracts is wonderful.  I would recommend adding in about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.

I served this with a cranberry sauce that I put together with pantry items.  Lingonberry jam, if you can find it, would be good as well.  Or you can eat is plain, which is wonderful.  I tried it warm after a little cooling time, and the next day after it had been sitting in the fridge.  Either way is yummy.

The question is, was this custard better than the pudding?  No.  They are both very good and I will make them both in the future, but there are just too many great memories attached to eating my family’s version of rice pudding.  Try both and let me know your opinion, though.  I am biased.

Scandinavian Rice Custard

Courtesy of Group Recipes

  • ½ cup medium grain white rice
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • dash of salt
  • 3 eggs, beaten just slightly
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • dash of cinnamon, if desired
  1. Add rice to boiling water; boil for 10 minutes.
  2. Drain rice in a colander; rinse and drain well.
  3. Put rice into a well buttered baking dish; stir in the butter and salt.
  4. Mix the beaten eggs with the sugar and salt.
  5. Stir egg mixture into the milk.
  6. Add the extracts and cinnamon ;pour over the rice.
  7. Set rice dish in a larger pan that is half filled with hot water (be sure to use HOT water).
  8. Bake at 325 degrees for 60 to 90 minutes (center of pudding should still be jiggle-y in the middle, but rice must be done).
  9. Stir rice every 10 minutes the first 30 minutes of baking.

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