Comfort food. Who doesn’t love it? For some it’s Mom’s mac-n-cheese or Dad’s secret recipe chili. Others prefer fried chicken, meatloaf, and southern style greens. Some even crave steaming mugs of chicken noodle and vegetable-beef soup.
For me, it’s mostly desserts. I have a sweet tooth the size of Texas (and a rear to match). I love sneaking a couple of fresh baked cookies, bites of rich old-timey fudge, gooey brownies, and bowls of warm pudding.
Sam’s not a big dessert fan, but he does enjoy a nice pudding once in a while. In our house, Sam and I have two different opinions on which pudding is the best. I say chocolate and he says butterscotch. Both are great, but sometimes they can be a bit boring on their own. So today, I decided to find a way to jazz up my usual butterscotch pudding recipe with something a bit more hearty. After scouring the net and searching through my pantry for ideas and inspiration, I came up with what I think is a simple yet delicious pudding that combines two comfort foods – butterscotch pudding and rice pudding. Oh man, have we hit the jackpot or what?!
Creamy, sweet, slightly chewy from the rice, a hint of caramel flavor, and the whole thing is topped with a decadent and light meringue crust, which of course is optional, but oh so worth it. Heaven, I tell you!
Butterscotch Rice Pudding
3 cups of milk, divided
1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar, divided
4 heaping tablespoons dry milk powder
3 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray a 2 quart, round souffle dish with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
2. In a medium non-stick saute pan, slowly scald 2 cups milk over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning and sticking (HINT: milk will boil over very fast and when it comes in contact with a heating element or flame it will ignite! DO NOT walk away from the kitchen during this process…you’ll be very unhappy with me if you do).
3. When small bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan, stir in the rice and salt. Place a lid on the pan at an angle, to allow some steam to escape. Stir the rice mixture every couple of minutes – making sure it’s not sticking to the pan and not boiling too much (again, we’re back to the not letting it boil over the pan issue). Cook the rice for about 40-45 minutes, or until soft and most of the milk has been absorbed.
4. While the rice is cooking; in a small sauce pan over low heat combine 1 cup milk, 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons butter, stirring continually to prevent milk from curdling. Turn off heat.
5. In a small bowl, slightly beat egg yolks. Slowly add 2 – 3 tablespoons of the warm butterscotch milk to the egg yolks and stir the egg yolks to prevent them from scrambling. Add in another 2 – 3 tablespoons more butterscotch milk, and continue to stir the egg yolks (this is called ‘tempering’).
6. Once the egg yolks have been tempered, add them to the butterscotch milk along with the dry milk powder. Whisk the butterscotch milk over low heat for approx. 4 minutes, or until smooth and slightly thickened. Remove from the heat.
7. At this point, your rice should be done. Slowly add the butterscotch milk into the rice, stirring continually to prevent clumping. Once all the butterscotch milk is incorporated turn the heat up to medium and cook rice mixture for 5 minutes, stirring continually.
8. Remove the pudding from heat source, stir in the vanilla, and pour into the prepared souffle dish. Set aside.
9. In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cup packed brown sugar and continue beating on highest speed until stiff peaks form. Quickly spread meringue over hot pudding, making sure to seal the edges.
10. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until golden brown and set. Allow pudding to cool to room temperature.