Baked Rice Pudding with Raisins and Pistachios

by Louise Ayer

When I was a little girl, I hardly ever saw rice. The only time my mom cooked rice was minute rice which she made maybe twice a year to accompany a shrimp curry. Its texture and flavor were nothing like real rice. I thought rice was gross, and I didn’t like its texture at all. When I was in my twenties, I met Ramani, my future husband, who grew up eating rice, or dishes based on rice, at every meal. From then on, rice became a staple in my diet, especially basmati brown rice, which with its elegant bouquet, I consider the king of rice.

In the winter when it’s cold and dry, it’s a good time to eat foods that are creamy and rich. It helps us to feel grounded. Rice pudding is perfect for this time of year. This particular recipe makes a royal rice pudding. All the ingredients are organic and it’s rich in raisins and nuts, fragrant with nutmeg and cardamom. With the eggs, milk, and brown rice, it is a very complete food. You can eat it as a one dish meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Enjoy!

Serves 6

4 large eggs
¾ cup of raw cane sugar *
3 cups milk
½ cup heavy whipping cream
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
3 cups cooked basmati brown rice
1 cup raisins
½ cup of shelled, unsalted pistachios, chopped coarsely
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons ghee, melted

*(You could use ¾ cup of date sugar or coconut palm sugar if you want to use a sweetener that does not impact blood sugar levels the way cane sugar does— either one can be substituted for the same quantity of cane sugar. They will have a slightly different flavor, but it will be a good flavor.)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 2 ½ quart casserole dish with ghee. Crack the eggs into a large bowl. Whisk the eggs until frothy. Add the sugar. Whisk to combine. Pour in the milk and cream. Whisk to combine. Add the vanilla extract, cardamom, and salt. Whisk to combine. Stir in the rice, raisins, and pistachios. Stir in the ghee. Slowly pour into the greased casserole dish. Sprinkle the top with the ground nutmeg. Place the casserole dish in a larger oven proof dish or pan to create a hot water bath. Add hot water to the larger dish until the water comes halfway up the side of the casserole dish.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until the top is set. It is ok if the pudding still jiggles a little. Serve while still warm. If you want to serve this as a dessert you can top it with Chantilly cream.

Chantilly Cream

1 pint of whipping cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons raw cane sugar (or equal quantity of coconut palm sugar or date sugar)

Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Turn off the mixer and add sugar and vanilla. Continue whipping until stiff peaks form.