In the United Kingdom, rice pudding is a traditional dessert and is very popular. The earliest rice pudding recipes were called whitepot and date from the Tudor period; one of the earliest recipes was written down by Gervase Markham in 1615. Rice pudding is traditionally made with pudding rice, milk, cream, and sugar and is often, but not always, flavoured with vanilla, nutmeg, jam and/or cinnamon. It can be made in two ways: in a saucepan or by baking in the oven.
In a saucepan, it is made by gently simmering the milk and rice until tender, and then the sugar is carefully mixed in. Finally, the cream is mixed in, and it can either be left to cool and be served at room temperature, or it can be heated and served hot. It should have a very creamy consistency.
When made in the oven, the pudding rice is placed into a baking dish, and the milk, cream and sugar are mixed in. The dish is then placed in the oven and baked at a low temperature for a few hours, until the rice is tender and the pudding has a creamy consistency. Whilst cooking, the pudding may develop a thick crust, which adds an interesting texture to the pudding.
An alternative recipe, frequently used in the North of England, uses butter instead of cream, adds a small pinch of salt, and requires the pudding mixture to stand for an hour or so prior to being cooked. Such puddings tend to set firmly when cooled, enabling slices to be cut and eaten like cake. If eaten hot, the pudding was traditionally served with cream poured on top in wealthy households, and with full fat milk where cream was not available. A spoonful of sweet jam or conserve is also a very popular topping for the pudding.
A specific type of rice is available and widely used for Rice Pudding called 'Pudding Rice'. The grain is round and short, and when cooked produces a creamier consistency than savoury rice. However, short gained rice such as risotto rice can be used as a substitute.
Ready-made rice pudding, which is pre-cooked and ready to eat, is sold in tin cans or pots and is very widely available in most supermarkets and shops. Because it is canned, it has a very long shelf life.
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Rice pudding, www.wikipedia.org
Rice pudding, www.bbc.co.uk
A nice rice pudding, www.bbcgoodfood.com