Ambrosial Chai-Spiced Rice Pudding/Slow-cooker Method

24 Jan

Rice pudding must be the retro favourite of the dessert world . . . probably part of the wave of gluten-free cooking. Let’s face it, everyone has their favourite way to cook it and serve it. Me, I’ve often only enjoyed the whipped cream on top. I like mine creamy and not very grainy or gelatin-like. Savvy’s dad has to have it with ‘flies’ (raisins) cooked in it. Mine must have cinnamon.

Ambrosial Chai-Spiced Rice Pudding. Make mine creamy with cinnamon!

Ambrosial Chai-Spiced Rice Pudding. Make mine creamy with cinnamon!

For the Savvy cook, this recipe is definitely a weekend project taking about 2 1/2 hours to make. Using a rice cooker and a slow cooker eliminates the need to stand over a pot for hours. But you still need to stir the pot occasionally. The pudding keeps well in the fridge in an air-tight container with a layer of waxed paper applied directly to the surface.  Makes 6 – 8 servings.

My recipe is an amalgam of several I found on-line and in blogs. The quest for a tasty, up-dated rice pudding recipe started last year when Stuart Maclean (the Order of Canada-honoured storyteller and radio broadcast host) of CBC Radio’s Vinyl Cafe posted a Facebook photo of his slow-cooker in the throes of producing rice pudding.

Condensed milk, coconut milk, vanilla bean, cardamon pods, nutmeg, brown sugar & cinnamon

Evaporated milk, coconut milk, vanilla bean, cardamom pods, nutmeg, brown sugar & cinnamon

Basic Rice Cooker

Basic Rice Cooker

I had the best results by cooking the rice first, using my basic rice cooker. Debate swirls around which rice is best for making pudding. I settled on 3/8 cup Jasmine rice [for its fluffy/sticky texture] and 3/8 cup brown basmati rice [for its creamy texture and nutty flavour] (rinsed & drained). Put rice in the cooker along with 1.5 cups of water. Put the lid on, plug it in and wait for the cooker to switch off to Keep Warm. Using oven mitts, remove the liner and allow the rice to sit covered for 10 minutes. Stir and fluff.

Spray the insert of  a 7″ diameter-sized or larger) slow-cooker. Add cooked rice.

Meanwhile, using an extra-large measuring cup (or a bowl) mix together:

1. 1 can of evaporated milk (370 ml) and add enough fresh milk to measure 4 cups in total.

I used mostly 1% milk plus some 1/2 + 1/2. Other cooks swear it must be 2% milk. Vegans can substitute 4 cups of coconut milk (or low-fat coconut milk). Last batch I made, I used 1 can evaporated milk, 1 can coconut (plus other milk to equal 4 cups). My guests liked the coconut version, but I prefer the all milk variation because it’s creamier.

2.  3 cardamom pods (visit your health/bulk food store).

I seal them in a sandwich bag, bang them open with the bottom of a heavy pot, then bang again to split the seeds a bit.

3. 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise with a sharp knife and scrape out the beans/paste.

The secret to the sublime taste of this rice pudding is the real vanilla bean. It’s worth the bother to source and pay for the real thing.

4. 1/2 whole nutmeg, grated by hand (approx. 1/2 teaspoon grated)

Pour the milk and spices mixture over the rice in the slow cooker. Add:

1/3 cup      brown sugar (preferably dark)

[1/2 cup      raisins or currants, if that’s your rice pudding thing!

Other add-in options include dried cranberries, cherries or blueberries, sometimes with grated lemon zest.]

Stir the liquid, brown sugar (and currants if using) to coat the rice well.

Place lid on slow cooker, turn on High and cook for up to 2 hours. DO NOT use the low temperature setting to cook your pudding. Give the pudding a good stir every 30 minutes (or more often, closer to the end time) to prevent scalding of the milk and sticking of the rice to the liner.

Stir regularly to prevent scalding & sticking. Will thicken as it cools.

Stir regularly to prevent scalding & sticking. Will thicken as it cools.

Rice pudding will thicken as it cools, so do not over cook if you prefer your pudding on the soft-side. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

Sprinkle the cooked and slightly cooled pudding with your prefered amount of cinnamon, stirring to mix well. Place a layer of waxed paper or plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent a crust forming.

When cooled, cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Serve warm, cold or room  temperature according to taste. Top with more cinnamon and whipped cream. Additional toppings could include chopped pistachios or toasted chopped almonds. The coconut milk version was great with toasted unsweetened, flaked coconut. For a dinner party, top with fresh fruit (mango, perhaps?) or a fruit of brandy sauce.

Top with toasted unsweetened coconut (and more cinnamon & whipped cream, too)

Top with toasted unsweetened coconut (and more cinnamon & whipped cream, too)

This pudding travels well, so it’s a great choice to tote to work for lunches. I’ve even been tempted to eat it for breakfast!

How do you like your rice pudding?


One Response to “Ambrosial Chai-Spiced Rice Pudding/Slow-cooker Method”


  1. What’s Cooking? — Week beginning January 19, 2013 « Savvy Single Suppers - February 2, 2013

    […] some blueberries or cranberries (or both) mixed in for some variety. And I’m still eating the Slow Cooker Ambrosial Rice Pudding which I promise to post in the coming […]

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