Rice pudding meets all the criteria for comfort food: It is easy to make, has simple ingredients and tastes amazing! It takes only a few bites to stir feeling of happiness and at times, it takes you down memory lane. Although rice pudding has been much more popular in the past, it is slowly making a come-back (at least I hope so!) with different twists. Rice pudding is common in countries where rice is a staple, such as Asia and in South America. I grew up in Brazil where rice pudding was called arroz doce, and usually made with short grain white rice, milk and sugar. Here in the USA, most rice pudding recipes are of European origin and call for cinnamon, nutmeg, and depending on what region you are from, it is either sweetened with sugar or maple syrup.
Regardless of which recipe you may follow, they all have a few things in common. They must be creamy, and this is why this is no time to substitute skim milk for a creamier milk. Whatever milk you choose to use in this recipe, make sure it is the full fat variety. The rice must be soft but not chewy, and this can be tricky since it has to do with the type of rice you are using, making it necessary for you to adjust the liquid. If you prefer making your rice pudding with basmati rice, you may have to increase the liquid. The recipe below uses short grain white rice; therefore, if you choose a different one, alter your recipe accordingly.
Lastly, this pudding must be sweet. After all, it is a pudding and often a desert. The sweetness may come from sugar, syrup — or if you are watching your blood sugar, you may use stevia instead. To achieve the right amount when using sugar substitutes, follow the package directions for equivalents for sugar since each brand has a slight variation. Also, I always recommend to error on the side of caution since you can always add more stevia later.
Do you remember that I mentioned rice pudding is evolving into much more than just plain comfort food? Well, that’s where Once Again Nut Butter comes into the picture. I took a traditional family recipe for rice pudding, and by simply adding ½ cup of Once Again Crunchy Almond Butter, took this rice pudding into a whole new dimension! It was an instant success — the almond butter complements the rice pudding so well that it was almost baffling why I hadn’t tried this before. It is delicious, and you can use whichever favorite Once Again Nut Butter you would like, but I do recommend trying the almond at some point. And although rice pudding is usually served warm, I found the leftovers that were refrigerated pretty amazing the next day!
Sweet Almond Rice Pudding
1 cup of rice
4 cups of water
1/2 cup sugar or 1 teaspoon of undiluted stevia powder* (18-24 packets of stevia sweetener)
4 cups of milk** (of your choice, we used whole cow’s milk traditionally)
1 tablespoon of corn
½ cup of Once Again Crunchy Almond Butter
*Or you may use 18-24 stevia sweetener packets; remember, sweetness varies with brands. Start with less, since you can always add more to the finished recipe.
**If using stevia, decrease milk to 3 cups.
Cook rice as indicated in package, using all 4 cups of water. When the rice has absorbed almost all the water, and it’s nearly ready, add 2 cups of hot milk (heat milk near its boiling temperature in separate pan or microwave). In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, sugar or stevia and corn starch. Then stir in this mixture with the rice.
Lastly, add in almond butter and the last cup of warm milk. Bring mixture to a boil and then turn off burner on stove top, the pudding is ready to be served! Or it may be refrigerated and served cold.