Sunday, February 28, 2021

Grandma Marian's Rice Pudding

Both Meme and Grandma Marian were of the school of thought that rice should be cooked forever in the top of a double boiler.  I know Meme's mother (my great-great-grandmother) cooked it in the same manner, and it was always served on Saturday night for supper.  Thus, I almost laughed aloud when I read the following bit from page 50 of my reprint of the 1933 Home Comfort Cookbook:

"Rice should not be put into a double boiler and cooked slowly into a pasty mass."

That is EXACTLY what they both did, and I ate it happily every time!

If I had to hazard a guess, I would say that Grandma only made rice once per month.  It was served instead of the ever-present potato with a sprinkling of sugar and a dash of cinnamon once it was on our plates.  Other than that, it was completely unseasoned.  (I had never even heard of salting rice until I was in college, and I had never had Chinese food either.)  If any rice was leftover, she would make it into rice pudding for dessert a day or two later.  Since she didn't ever know how much rice she would have (she was constantly cooking for large groups of family and hired men), there was never any recipe for her rice pudding.  Furthermore, sometimes it all fit into a small custard cup, and sometimes it needed an 8" x 10" Pyrex dish.  Obviously, this dish is very flexible.

Also, I should give fair warning that though Grandma always called this "rice pudding," it is really more of a baked custard with rice in it.  Thus, if you are looking for a rice pudding that is more similar to a cornstarch pudding, this isn't going to fit that bill.

To start with, you need leftover cooked rice, eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla.  You can see in the picture below that I had two different containers of leftover rice, and I would estimate that they amounted to about 2 1/2 cups altogether.

To this amount of rice, I added three eggs and some milk, a splash of vanilla, and perhaps a quarter cup of sugar.  I could have put more sugar in--Grandma certainly would have--but I like this best served with ice cream, so I didn't want it to be all that sweet.

Three eggs didn't seem to be sufficient, so I added a fourth and a dab more milk.  That's the thing with this sort of "recipe": you have to carefully observe what things look like so that you know how to adjust your proportions.  In this case, you want there to be enough egg and milk mixture to cover the rice completely.  You can see that things looked better after I added these extras.

Finally, add whatever amount of raisins you would like.  I think I put in a heaping half cup into this batch.  

Lightly sprinkle cinnamon on the top of the pudding once you put it in whatever dish you are going to bake it in.

This is a particularly good recipe to bake in a wood cookstove because you don't have to have a certain oven temperature.  I imagine Grandma baked it at 325ºF, but you just have to have a slow to moderate oven.

Watch the pudding carefully, baking it until it is firm in the middle.  Depending on the size of your pudding, this can take quite a while.  Again, just watch it carefully and don't let your fire get too hot!

I like this rice pudding best when served warm.  Grandma always served it with Cool Whip, milk, half & half, or ice cream.  My favorite is ice cream.

We have some family friends who make a very similar dish that they just call "Baked Rice."  Theirs is less sweet, has a bit of salt added to it, and is served as a starchy side dish for the main meal rather than a dessert, but it is the same basic idea.  Both their family and Grandma's has a lot of German influence, so I wonder if this is a German dish.

Please fill up the comments with information about whether you or your family make something similar, and let us all know how your method differs.


  1. I just recently "baked" this on top of my wood heat stove it has a flat top and I put a large stainless bowl over it to keep the heat in, I also cook it for 10 minutes or so right on top of the stove then move it onto a trivet to keep it from burning.
    Just threw it together...what I felt it needed.
    Approximate ingredients here. 3 cups cooked rice, 2 egg yolks beaten, 2 cups milk, dash salt,2T butter, 1/2 cup sugar,2 T. cornstarch mixed with the milk,
    2 tsp. cinnamon,2 tsp vanilla.
    Mix all well put in buttered pyrex dish."BAKE" till set .
    Probably 45 min. on hot stovetop.
    I make vanilla pudding from scratch and this is about what I use for it.
    We used to have it at grade school almost 50 years ago, husband said it was gooood.