With it having dropped around 8 degrees over the course of the Easter weekend I feel like we have truly entered the pudding season. When I step outside I smell wood fires burning. While I love that smell I am still a little worried that people in Auckland are already feeling the cold and we are still in April. I saw a girl wearing a puffer jacket today. Not ok kids. Not ok.
It was over this Easter weekend that I, along with my extended family, helped my Nana move into a smaller apartment within her retirement village. She no longer has a kitchen which as sad as it is we all know is for the best. The contents of her kitchen got packed into boxes and transported away. I was lucky enough to inherit this beauty of a casserole dish.
Now I am not going to be sugar coat this. My Nana was never a good cook. By some miracle my own Mum is one hell of a foodie. She definitely didn't get it via the maternal line thats for sure. Nana was the roast meat and three vege kind of woman. She boiled her greens until they were grey. Her baking wasn't very flash either. As she got older and her memory slowly deteriorated, baked goods were forgotten about in the oven and became drier and drier with each batch.
Nana does however have two redeeming features tucked into her culinary belt. Shortbread and baked rice pudding. I am so pleased to be able to make this for you in her old ugly pot. Not that she ever made pudding in this particular pot but you get the idea.
I remember when we all used to descend upon Matamata to visit her and the roast beef and grey veges were followed by a delicious steaming dish of rice pudding. Dad and I used to and still continue to fight over the skin that forms over the top. This stodgy, sweet delight is a winter warmer for sure.
Rice pudding also reminds me of weekend sports tournaments and school camps where Mum used to buy it for us as energy boosters. By us I mean my brother. Me play sport? Me have hand eye coordination? Never. That just isn't a thing as I have been trying to tell my work's social touch and netball teams for a while now.
Baked rice pudding couldn't be easier. Put all the ingredients in an oven proof dish. Stir. Bake. Stir every half an hour. Dollop jam over the top. Consume. Boom town. Yes I dollop mine with jam.
For years at my hostel in Dunedin I was ridiculed and pointed at for dolloping jam here there and everywhere, especially over my beloved rice pudding. My mother does it and therefore so do I. The civil engineers need to be called because some bridges need to be built haha. My flatmate loves hers with raisins. Some like pouring a bit more milk over the top. The food service manager at my hostel served up big pots of the stuff with tinned plums right beside it. Here I am wondering why I got so chubby in my first and second years of uni. I think that fresher five can be put down to custard squares and rice pudding.
Once again this can join the not so pretty pudding club but thats ok. Its whats on the inside that counts right?
Baked Rice Pudding
5 tablespoons short grain rice (a calrose will suffice also)
3 tablespoons white sugar
3 cups milk (I used 2 cups trim 1 cup full fat)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean seeds (or a splash of essence)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees on bake. Take a small oven proof casserole dish (at least 6 cup capacity) and place all the ingredients in and give it a stir. Pop the dish in the middle of the oven and bake for 2 hours, stirring every half hour until the milk has been absorbed and the rice has cooked. Remove from the oven and leave to sit for fifteen minutes to thicken up a little more.
Serve hot or cold with jam, slivered almonds or whatever your heart desires.
Enjoy with crazy flatmates while dancing along to Motown!