Caramelized Rice Pudding

  • Active Time 15m
  • Total Time 2h 20m

Serves 6

Rice pudding is considered a homey treat in Italy, particularly in the north where it is made with the locally grown short-grained Arborio rice. This high-quality rice, generally used for making risotto, results in an especially creamy pudding. The caramelized topping adds a sweet crunch.


  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup Arborio rice
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half, or more if needed
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 6 figs, cut in half through the stem end


In a small saucepan, combine the rum and water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, stir in the raisins and let stand until needed.

In the top pan of a double boiler, combine the rice, 2 1/2 cups half-and-half and vanilla bean. Bring water in the lower pan to a gentle boil. Place the top pan over it (the pan should not touch the water). Cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 1 hour. Check the level of the liquid occasionally to make sure the pan does not go dry. If the rice is still a bit tough and all the liquid has been absorbed, add a little more half-and-half and cook until the rice softens. The rice mixture should be very thick.

Remove the top pan, uncover and set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Combine the yolks and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a small bowl and whisk to blend. Whisk in a small amount of the rice mixture to warm the yolk mixture slightly, then whisk the yolk mixture into the rice mixture. Reposition the top pan over the lower pan of gently simmering water and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the top pan and transfer the contents to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the rice to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until completely chilled. (The rice can be prepared to this stage up to 1 day before serving.)

In a bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Remove and discard the vanilla bean from the rice pudding. Drain the raisins. Using a rubber spatula, fold the cream and the raisins into the rice mixture, distributing the raisins evenly and folding only until no white drifts of cream remain. Pack the pudding firmly into six 1/2-cup flameproof ramekins. Level the surface, cover and refrigerate until well chilled before serving.

TO SERVE: Preheat a broiler. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet. Divide the remaining 1/4 cup sugar evenly among the ramekins, sprinkling 2 teaspoons of it evenly over the surface of each pudding. Place the ramekins in the broiler about 2 inches from the heat and broil until the sugar caramelizes, about 2-3 minutes. Rotate the ramekins as needed so they brown evenly. Serve immediately, accompanied with the figs.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 793

nutrition information per serving

461 calories; 25g total fat; 149mg cholesterol; 56mg sodium; 52g carbohydrates; 2g fiber; 6g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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