Brown Rice Pudding

We have been drowning in raw milk lately. Since there are four of us in the house, I signed up for four shares, the equivalent of 4 half-gallon jars, figuring that would be enough for our drinking and baking needs, plus half a gallon to process every 10 days or so. Then my dad informed us that he wouldn’t drink the raw milk; and just recently Nolan decided that he is done drinking smoothies and has taken a highly suspicious view of plain milk ever since. So for the past month or so, I have had nearly an entire gallon of extra milk to use up every week! That makes way more yogurt, ricotta cheese, and dulce de leche than we can eat up, which means it is time to experiment.

I have been itching to make my own cheeses like mozzarella and Cheddar, but I don’t have the supplies to do so at home just yet. In the meantime, this homey rice pudding recipe sucks half a gallon of whole milk into just a cup of short grain brown rice to make an incredibly creamy pudding. I have never really liked rice pudding and was reminded as I dished up bowls for dessert that my dad doesn’t like tapioca pudding, so I was honestly a little nervous about whether this would even get eaten. But we all loved it, and even Nolan deigned to have a taste from my spoon.

This pudding has a rich caramelly flavor from the long slow cook time, subtly flavored with vanilla, cinnamon, and orange; and the brown rice lends the rich milk a silky mouthfeel while retaining its own textural integrity. I enjoyed a scoop warm from the pot, all on its own, but it tastes just as good chilled and buried in juicy Palisade peach slices—for dessert or breakfast!

Brown Rice Pudding

Try this pudding warm in the winter, studded with plump nuggets of dried fruit, or cold in the summer, piled up with macerated fresh fruit! If you use a white rice such as arborio instead of brown, you will save yourself a little cooking time, but might end up with a mushier overall texture.

1 C short grain brown rice
8 C whole milk
1/2 C sugar (I used coconut sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean split and seeds scraped – set aside seeds
1 cinnamon stick
1 large chunk of dehydrated orange zest or 1 T fresh orange zest, optional
1 beaten egg

In a large pot, bring the milk to a simmer and add the rice; lower to a simmer, cover, and cook for 45 minutes. Remove the lid, add the sugar, the dehydrated zest and scraped vanilla bean if you’re using them. Cook over a very low flame, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until all the milk has cooked into the rice. This can take an hour or two, so be patient. You’ll also have to skim the top ‘skin’ that forms each time you stir.

Once the milk is absorbed, remove from the heat, remove the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean if using and quickly add the beaten egg, stirring constantly so the egg thickens the pudding but does not cook. Stir in the vanilla seeds or extract, and fresh orange zest if using, until well combined. Serves 8-12, warm or cold.

Source: Slightly adapted from Cooking with Anne.

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