Wednesday 11 June 2008

The Best Rice Pudding Ever!

Recently I found an enticing recipe for a rich Nigel Slater recipe in the Observer Food Monthly, a baked creamy pudding that took my fancy. It is just his sort of British comfort food. In Toast he write of his love for his mother’s version which had to be sipped like a broth rather than a creamy risotto texture: ‘Warm sweet milk was what a mother should smell of,’ he writes.

When I was little, my mum frequently made sweet milky, soft rice pudding with plump raisins. She served it with cold milk and granular sugar. I thought it was what everyone ate. Then I discovered Chocolate Rice Pudding.

This is not rice pudding the way your mother made it. It is not cozy cottages, hot water bottles and slippers warming by the fire. You wouldn’t find it in an Enid Blyton story or an Ealing comedy. No one would be mumbling ‘mustn’t grumble’ because they’d be too busy telling each other it was ‘fabulous dahling, mwah mwah!’

Everything tastes better with chocolate and when you make this the proof is indeed in the pudding. This is dark, rich, creamy and better than I ever could have imagined rice pudding could be.

This is a fine choice for when your vegan and gluten free friends dine with you. My advice is: don’t serve this with a mole-style chilli non carne, don’t buy cream to serve it with but forget to buy milk, and don’t feel the need to be generous with this rich dessert. Be creative with garnishes. It is a great way to use cocoa nibs if you have some about. I would love to serve it with baked fruit. But however you serve it, you won’t regret encountering this delicious, indulgent and surprisingly easy dessert.

Chocolate rice pudding
(adapted from The New Vegan Cookbook by Lorna Sass)
Serves 4

1¾ cup water
pinch salt
½ cup arborio rice (or white short grain rice)
1¼ cup soy milk (I used ¾ cup low fat milk, ¼ cup water, ¼ cup cream)
¼ cup plus 1 tbsp cocoa (I used dutch cocoa)
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp almond or cashew nut butter
1 tsp ground wattleseed (or instant coffee) – optional
pinch cinnamon
optional garnishes – blueberries, cocoa nibs, choc bits

Bring water and to the boil in a small-medium saucepan. Add rice and simmer on low heat with the lid on for about 20-30 minutes (it took me 20) or til rice is soft and water is absorbed.

While rice is cooking blend milk, cocoa, sugar, nut butter, wattleseed and cinnamon til smooth. Taste and add more sugar or more cocoa as desired. (The recipe heeds that the sweetness is slightly diminished when the mixture is added to the rice.)

Stir the chocolate mixture into the cooked rice. Bring to boil, being careful that it doesn’t boil over, and simmer on low heat for about 5 – 10 minutes (it took me 5), stirring frequently. The recipe says to cook til pudding thickens and some rice is visible on the surface but warns it will be soupy and thicken more as it cools. I didn’t think it needed much simmering but was happy for it to be quite liquidly.

Serve immediately, or cool slightly while you eat dinner and then reheat briefly, or store in the fridge up to 4 days and reheat when ready to use. Serve garnished with blueberries, cocoa nibs and choc chips if you feel like being fancy.

On the stereo:
Under the Covers 1: 60s Pop Primer - Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs


  1. I really enjoy your recipe blogs. It's great to see the final result and the process in between. Plus - real commentary makes it much more enjoyable to follow.

  2. Holy moly is there any chocolate in that rice pudding? Or should I ask is there any rice in that chocolate pudding?
    Looks great. Pass me a bowl please.

  3. Sounds very intriguing! For some reason, though I adore chocolate, I've never really thought it would go well with rice pudding. But your photo has convinced me. Those white chocolate chips and cocoa nibs alone would make it worthwhile!

  4. Oh my - I don't know what to say - I'm too busy trying not to drool.

  5. thanks Anya - glad you enjoy my blog!

    Thanks Tanna - I was impressed by the chocolatey flavour - probably the dutch cocoa added to it but it was intense! Plenty to share!

    thanks Ricki - oh yes I am quite sold on the combination of chocolate and rice but chocolate goes well with most things doesn't it!

    thanks Lysy - I confess it was so good I was sneaking back for an extra spoonful or two of the leftovers.

  6. Oh lord... that is just evil. I wonder if I can adapt it for the slow cooker (too hot to use the stove these days!)?

  7. Wow! That is a rice pudding and a half. Rice pudding has mum memories for me too. Although my mum has moved on to cooking it in the microwave. This, this is something else!

  8. I just can't eat rice pudding. I don't know why. The mere thought of it makes me feel slightly sick.
    Have to admit though, the addition of chocolate does make it slightly more appealing. :)

  9. Yum. I am making this. It sounds so delicious, and I have the perfect chocolate in mind for it. I love rice pudding, and rice pudding with cocoa? Even better...

  10. Wow, that does look delicious! I don't doubt it is the best rice pudding ever :)

  11. thanks Ann - I am sure this would work well in the slow cooker - it took me more water and less time that the original recipe so you might need to adjust it. I would think this would make a fine chilled dessert, based on tasting the cold leftovers

    Thanks Holler - I would be interested to hear how you make rice pudding in the microwave!

    Thanks Wendy - I can easily understand why anyone would not like rice pudding - it is a weird idea!

    thanks Cookinpanda - I am a little biased in favour of real chocolate over cocoa but this one of the recipes that makes me think it is an irrational bias because it is so chocolatey - would like to see a version with melted chocolate

    Thanks LisaRene - the title is a little tongue-in-cheek but I don't think i have tasted a better rice pudding (sorry mum - yours are pretty good too!)

  12. Phwoar - chocolate rice pudding? I am in heaven.

  13. Wow, that is definitely not the rice pudding I grew up on, but wow! I'll have to try this, it sounds delicious. And lol at proof is in the pudding.

  14. you are on a chocolate roll, gal. i will make this when i return from my trip.

  15. thanks Cakelaw - heavenly is a good description for this pudding

    thanks Mike - let me know if you love it as much as me when you try it!

    thanks Bee - yes chocolate is my life :-) Seriously - it is something to look forward to but hope you enjoy your trip too!

  16. Yum! That looks deliciously indulgant.

  17. Thanks Katie - it does seem indulgent but healthier than my usual indulgences I think.


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