By Erin Walgamuth
When I was around 9 years old I became obsessed with making pudding. Chocolate pudding, butterscotch pudding, vanilla pudding, tapioca pudding, rice pudding, now I’m starting to sound like Bubba from Forrest Gump! I would sit on the kitchen counter top next to the stove and stir my homemade pudding concoctions with my mom’s favorite wooden spoon. In those days I was also obsessed with reading, so this was the perfect combination of my two loves, cooking and reading at the same time. Of course eating the pudding was fabulous too and best of all, I could eat the pudding and read at the same time…heaven.
My children have inherited my love of homemade pudding, so I still make it for them…ok, it’s for me too. The vanilla and cinnamon rice pudding is delicious and yes, it was an afterschool favorite for many years. Of course, when I was a kid I didn’t know that vanilla came from a bean, I just thought it was something that the Schilling Company made up to make pudding taste better…who knew?
I buy my vanilla beans on line from a company called Penzeys. Take a look at their web site as they have a plethora of good quality herbs and spices to choose from, www.penzeys.com . If you don’t have vanilla beans in your panty, no worries, you can use vanilla extract instead.
You don’t have to put rice in this pudding if you don’t care to; it’s delicious on its own. If you are not a fan of cinnamon please feel free to omit that as well. Enjoy!
You will need
Heavy bottomed 4 quart pot with tight fitting lid
6 - 3/4 cup ramekins or custard cups
Note- I like to make a whole pot of cinnamon rice ( one cup of rice instead of a half cup of rice)as I find the rice turns out better than when I make a half pot of rice. Of course, no one minds when there is left over cinnamon rice, so hey, it works for me!
Prep time is about minimal
Cook time for the rice is about 10-14 minutes
Cook time for the pudding is about 7-10 minutes
Makes 4 ½ cups
1 cup of long or short grain white rice
2 cups of water
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Put water, salt, cinnamon and sugar in the heavy-bottomed pot, stir to dissolve and bring to a boil. Add rice, bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, put lid on pot and cook until water is absorbed and rice is tender, about 10-14 minutes.
When rice is cooked, remove from heat and let sit with the lid on for 5 minutes. Remove lid, fluff rice with a fork and put in a bowl or food storage container, set aside. Wash the pot to re-use for the pudding, or use another heavy-bottomed pot.
Vanilla Bean Pudding
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups 2 percent milk or whole milk
2 large egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out, or 2 teaspoons good quality vanilla extract
Note-I split the vanilla bean in half and use a small spoon to scrape out the seeds
Put sugar, corn starch and salt in the heavy bottomed pot and stir to combine.
Put egg yolks in a 4-cup measuring cup and whisk to combine. Add milk to the egg yolks and whisk to combine well.
Note-If you are using vanilla bean seeds put them in the milk and egg mixture and whisk to combine well. If using vanilla extract you will wait until the pudding is done and add it last.
Pour the egg and milk mixture into the sugar and corn starch mixture. Use a whisk to combine well. Cook pudding over medium heat stirring constantly. Bring pudding to a medium boil and let boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove pot from heat and stir in vanilla extract if using. Add ½ cup of cinnamon rice and stir to combine.
Divide pudding among ramekins or custard cups, or put it in a medium size bowl to serve as you please. Let pudding cool for 10 minutes. Press plastic wrap over surface of puddings and refrigerate until cold. You can serve the pudding warm, room temperature or cold.
When my children were little, they liked sliced bananas or strawberries (or both) on top of their pudding. It’s a great way to include a bit of extra fresh fruit into your children’s diet.
Erin Walgamuth  has been an assistant Food Stylist for television and print for the past 26 years and writes this column using her own recipes. Check out her other creations in our Hometown Recipe  section.
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