Published September 1, 1996.
Highlight the rice by cooking it in water first and eliminating extra ingredients.
At its best, rice pudding is simple, lightly sweet, and tastes of its primary component, rice. At its worst, the rice flavor is lost to cloying sweetness, condensed dairy, and a pasty, leaden consistency.
We embarked on the pursuit of a really wonderful rice pudding. The qualities of the ideal candidate would be intact, tender grains bound loosely in a subtly sweet, milky sauce. We were looking for a straightforward stovetop rice pudding, in which both the texture and flavor of the primary ingredient would stand out.
We found that cooking the rice in milk or cream obscured the rice flavor, while a cooking medium of water emphasized it. The most appealing balance of rice flavor and satisfying, but not too rich, consistency derived from cooking the rice in 2 cups of water until it was all absorbed, then adding equal parts of whole milk and half-and-half to make the pudding. We had the best results from cooking the rice and water in a covered pot first, followed by simmering the cooked rice uncovered in the dairy mixture.list of recipes