So, the subject is Rice Pudding. Now here is the question …… skin or no skin?
For me, there is no debate. No pondering, no dwelling – it’s crystal clear. There is absolutely only one answer – it’s a big N O to skin on rice pudding ….. in fact I would go so far as to say that skin on rice pudding is the work of the devil and only serves to potentially destroy something utterly sublime.
But amazingly, not everyone feels the same. At the very least, my lovely husband is a BIG fan of the skin on rice pudding and will positively battle to make sure he gets it. No enormous battle required in our house though because here he is alone as its number one fan. And maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe every house just needs one fan, so that the rest of the family can concentrate on the real deal – the delicious, creamy, comforting dessert that is rice pudding.
It’s another quintessentially English dish – so simple in its ingredients, so easy to make and so nostalgic too. Maybe school dinners gave it a bad name, but now is the time to move on and give it another try. For me it is a dish that needs nothing adding to it. It shouldn’t be flavoured or garnished; pimped up or paired up ……. just leave it to ‘be’. It’s a simple classic and sometimes only simple classic will do.
My favourite recipe comes from another English classic, Simon Hopkinson. His method is a tiny bit unorthodox, but give it a try – it works for me. Any leftovers works beautifully in little pots for packed lunches – it thickens quite considerably on chilling so feel free to add more milk if you like a looser consistency. And if leftovers is really what you fancy, be sure to make a double quantity – for young and old it is SO moreish … with or without the skin ……
- 40g butter
- 100g pudding rice
- 75g caster sugar
- 1 litre milk (I used semi-skimmed)
- 150 ml double cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- freshly grated nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 140ºC, 275ºF (gas mark 1).
- Melt the butter in a heavy based casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the sugar stirring until dissolved.
- Pour in the milk and keep stirring until any lumps that have built up disappear. Add the cream and vanilla and bring the mixture to a simmer. Once this is reached, give the mixture a final stir and grate plenty of nutmeg over the surface.
- Bake for 1 - 1½ hours and cover with foil if the surface browns too quickly. Test a little of the rice before removing from the oven to make sure it is ready.
- Serve as you like it - hot, chilled, room temperature, with skin or without!