It’s that time of year when we start hibernating. The holidays are over and we’re just biding our time till Spring. It’s been very cold here in Utah the last few weeks and haven’t seen the thermostat hover much above thirty degrees. I bundle up with sweaters and wool socks and huddle under blankets, but still my fingers and toes are still perpetually frozen.

Rice and vanilla beans

The solution for that? Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding.

Steaming pudding

The act of standing at the stove stirring this pudding for a half hour or so was enough to heat me up. It was also very therapeutic— stirring, stirring, and stirring. With steam rising from the pot, the dog asleep at my feet and my husband watching football in the other room.

I love lazy Saturdays, don’t you?

A bowl of this rice pudding— flavored subtly with some lemon zest, a pinch of cinnamon, and specks of vanilla bean— successfully warmed me from the inside out.

Not only is rice pudding very comforting (and delicious!), did you know that it’s also relatively good for you? This time of year many of us commit to being healthier, and here’s a treat that won’t make you feel guilty. And I’m not even kidding, the cookbook suggests this as a “wholesome dinner in a pinch.”

That’s enough for me. I’ll have another bowl, please.

Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding
Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook
Makes approximately 4 cups

1 cup long grain rice
2 cups water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter,
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
Pinch of cinnamon

Combine the water, butter, salt, and lemon zest in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in the rice and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Use a paring knife to scrape the beans from the vanilla pod. In a large saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, vanilla beans and pod, and cinnamon. Bring just to a boil, and then stir in the cooked rice. Simmer the mixture on medium heat, stirring constantly, until milk is reduce and pudding is thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean pod.

Serve warm or cold, with a sprinkling of cinnamon, if desired. Store in the refrigerator.

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7 Responses to Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding

  1. Chow and Chatter says:

    wow this looks wonderful wow thats cool stay warm Rebecca

  2. Corrine says:

    That looks delightful!

  3. Taylor says:

    There isn't a more comforting dessert than rice pudding….it's so creamy, chewy, and delicious!

  4. Victor says:

    Looks warm and comforting! I still have some vanilla beans left. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Georgia (The Comfort of Cooking) says:

    Oh, wow, Annalise. This looks like pure comfort in a bowl, and so warm! I wasn't aware that it's on the healthy side, but that's enough of an incentive for me to try this sometime soon! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Erika Beth, the Messy Chef says:

    My mom would make rice pudding for my siblings and me as a treat. It's so yummy! We would put cinnamon and sugar and add slices of salami to it. Mmm!

  7. sara @ CaffeIna says:

    Rice pudding is one of my favorite treats of all times. But aside from that…wow…I mean double wow. These pictures are amazing!

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