Thursday, December 17, 2015

Ellie Krieger's Very Vanilla Rice Pudding

Rice pudding is the 'ultimate comfort food' according to Ruth Reichl and I have to agree. it makes a great breakfast, snack, or dessert when you need something that warms and fills your soul as much as it warms and fills your belly. This non-dairy Very Vanilla Rice Pudding by Ellie Krieger, is the eighth rice pudding I have posted on the blog (including four from former I Heart Cooking Clubs featured chefs Jamie Oliver, Rick Bayless, Madhur Jaffrey, and Diane Henry). Since this week's IHCC theme is Cinnamon & Sugar, it seemed like the perfect time to try Ellie's version. I made a few changes to the recipe (noted in red below) and I added some holiday dazzle by adding dried cranberries to the pudding itself and then topping it with pomegranate seeds and pistachios. 

Ellie says, "This pudding is intoxicatingly fragrant and flavorful, offering a big dose of comforting deliciousness. Aborio rice, the same kind used in risotto, lends a thick creaminess to this pudding without the addition of any cream, while the vanilla soy milk imparts a richer flavor and texture than regular milk."

Very Vanilla Rice Pudding 
Slightly Adapted from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger
(Serves 4-6

2 cups water
1 cup Arborio rice
3 cups vanilla soy milk (I used unsweetened vanilla coconut milk)
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I used 1 tsp)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon + more for dusting
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg + more for dusting (I replaced nutmeg with more cinnamon)
(I added 2 Tbsp dried cranberries)
(I added chopped pistachio nuts & pomegranate arils to garnish)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. (See note in red below)

Bring the water to boil in a medium, heavy, ovenproof saucepan. Add the rice, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the rice is nearly cooked, about 20 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the soy milk, sugar and salt. When the rice is cooked and still hot, add the soy milk mixture and cinnamon stick. Cover, place in the oven, and cook for 45 minutes. (Note: I cooked mine entirely on the stove top {for about 30 minutes} since I was making a half-batch and didn't want to heat up the oven for it. I also added 2 tablespoons of dried cranberries for the last half of the cooking time.)

Remove from the oven, uncover, and remove the cinnamon stick. Stir in the vanilla, ground cinnamon and nutmeg. The pudding will be slightly liquidy; the liquid will continue to absorb into the rice and thicken as the pudding cools. 

Distribute among bowls, dusting with more cinnamon and nutmeg (and other garnishments of choice). Serve warm of at room temperature. The pudding will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for about 3 days.       

Notes/Results: Just a gorgeously creamy bowl of rice pudding goodness. Although I've used brown rice, basmati rice, and regular medium-grain rice before, I had never made rice pudding with aborio rice and the creaminess it adds to the dish is pretty wonderful. I had unsweetened vanilla coconut milk on hand so I used it instead of soy milk and found it slightly richer, adding to the decadent feel of this pudding. Being not a great fan of nutmeg, I just doubled the ground cinnamon--with it and the extra vanilla extract I added, both flavors really came through. I tend to prefer stove top rice puddings and since I was making a small batch this round, I didn't try Ellie's oven method--maybe next time I will give it a whirl. To me, dried fruit and toppings are a must in rice pudding for the pops of flavor and texture they add--like little treasures, turning something humble and slightly plain into a festive treat. I would happily make this again. 

This post is linked to I Heart Cooking Clubs for this week's Cinnamon & Sugar theme. You can see what Ellie Krieger dishes everyone made by checking out the picture links on the post.



  1. I haven't made rice pudding in awhile, I hope to make some before the end of the year:)

  2. I almost made this!! Looks yummy and I like that you've added dried cranberries. I have never made rice pudding before and got to give this a try one of these days!

  3. I like the idea of using arborio to impart extra creaminess. What beautiful color combination!

  4. I love that topping! I've got a whole jar of arborio in the pantry! Move over risotto! Bring on the rice pudding!

    Happy holidays, Deb!

  5. I bet the arborio rice certainly does make for a creamier texture. I had a giggle when you said you didn't care for nutmeg and replaced it with cinnamon. I feel the same way and always use cinnamon in place of nutmeg!

    Love the Christmasy cranberries and pistachios on top. Looks very cozy and delicious!


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