This is something I grew up making. I first learned it from my great grandmother, when I was around 8 or 9 years old. Both my grandmother and my mother made it frequently (albeit slightly differently).
About an hour or two before I plan to make the rice pudding, I put the vanilla beans in a bowl with the sugar and let them sit. Then when I am ready, I split the vanilla beans, scrape out every last bit of the seeds and put them into my milk. (I save the empty pods for another use).
Next, I preheat my oven to 325F. I melt the butter on low heat. While my butter is melting, I grease a large soufflé dish and put both my rice and my raisins into the bottom of it. I mixt them around and set it aside.
In a large mixing bowl, I beat the eggs, salt and sugar together with a hand mixer. I add the butter slowly, tempering the eggs as I go so that they don’t curdle. Then I add the milk (keeping the mixer going on low) and make sure to scrape every last vanilla seed into the mixture with a spatula.
At this point, I have a large roasting pan waiting. I put up a kettle of hot water to boil. I add my custard mixture into the soufflé dish with the rice and raisins and Sprinkle both cinnamon and nutmeg on the top of the custard and mix it all together so the rice blends evenly with the milk and doesn’t sit on the bottom of the pan.
I carefully place the soufflé dish into the roasting pan. I put the roasting pan into the middle rack of my oven and add enough boiling water to the roasting pan to make it ½ way up the sides of the soufflé dish (essentially making a bain maire). Be careful not to get water into your custard mixture.
The rice pudding will take about an hour or so to cook. You can tell when it’s done when it doesn’t giggle around and is “set.”
I'm a home cook with a lifelong passion for learning, exploring and experimenting in my kitchen. You can find me at @Debs1 on Twitter and @Debs121212 on Instagram.
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