I'm On a Pudding Kick.....

My dad loved his rice pudding. Mother made it a lot, a very basic recipe with some raisins thrown in. She made custard much the same way, sans raisins. Nothing fussy, just quick and easy. Dad liked to take some softened butter, add brown sugar and cinnamon, mix it together and dump a heaping spoonful on top of his hot rice pudding. No cream, just the brown sugar/butter topping. It melted all over it; he loved that kind of stuff. His eating habits were really appalling when I think back on it, lots of butter, cream (he actually used sweetened condensed milk in his coffee), white bread and he liked his desserts. He kept one of those enormous chocolate bars in the refrigerator and broke off a piece every single evening of his life. He lived to be 94, was in good health (until prostate cancer hit at age  92), had all his teeth in spite of the chocolate, no cholesterol problems and still had a trim figure. What's up with that? Genes, you'll say, no doubt you're right.

One day I presented Dad with a different kind of rice pudding. A new recipe I had found called French Custard Rice Pudding and I wanted to try it out on him. He looked at it with dismay; he really didn't like change, but being a polite and also a kind father, he took a bite. After his first bite he smiled, looked up and said: "Is it rice pudding or custard?"

Well, both actually. And because he liked custard nearly as much, it was a success. He still wanted his brown sugar invention on top, even though I thought it was overkill. But then I'm not crazy about an overly sweet rice pudding. If you like a sweeter dessert, try a nice raspberry or apricot sauce (something made with melted jams, a bit of water and perhaps some rum or kirsch if you want to get fancy.); that would give the pudding a nice touch of color. Or you could make a crème anglaise. And there's always cream. Not appealing to me but there it is. Another wonderful thing about this pudding is it's just as good cold, if not better. But you sure can't melt your brown sugar topping on a dish of cold rice pudding. So Dad started to use maple syrup on it! Funny.

I've made it a lot since then. First for my parents, but also for my own family. Sometimes, if I don't have raisins, I've used whatever dried fruit I happened to have handy. But I must admit, I like raisins best. Talk about not liking change.

So... I give you double comfort food: rice pudding AND custard, all in one dish. I should also mention it's perfect to take to someone who's been housebound for one reason or another. Nearly everyone likes rice pudding and custard...pretty much from childhood on. Comforting. I think it's kind of neat to get two desserts in one.

French Custard Rice Pudding
From Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts


4 cups whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup uncooked rice ( not instant; I use Uncle Ben's converted rice)
3/4 cup raisins
4 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


In the top of a large double boiler, mix 3 cups of the milk (reserve the remaining 1 cup), sugar, salt and rice. Cook over direct heat until very hot. Then place over hot water in the bottom of the double boiler. Cover. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until rice is very tender and the milk is almost but not completely absorbed.

While the rice is cooking, pour boiling water over the raisins to cover. Let stand 5 minutes. Drain.
Place rack in the center of the oven, preheat it to 350°. Butter a 6 cup shallow casserole or baking dish.
Stir yolks with a whisk and add the last cup of milk along with the vanilla and almond extracts.
Gradually mix some of the hot rice mixture into the cold milk mixture and then mix the yolk mixture with the rest of the rice. Stir in the raisins. Pour into the prepared pan and sprinkle with nutmeg. Place into a larger pan, which must not be deeper than the baking dish. Pour hot water into the pan to about halfway up the baking dish.
Bake for 45 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove pudding from the hot water and cool on a rack. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.
Makes 6-8 portions.


  1. What a lovely story Barbara. Personally, I think your dad was onto something. I love his concoction!!!

    I've been craving bread pudding all week. I have a few stashes of odd bread ends in the freezer but not quite enough for bread pudding. (I like to make a large amount:) I suppose it's that comfort feeling coming over me.

    Your French Custard Rice Pudding looks seriously decadent. Just the way I like it. Rice pudding; bread pudding? I can guarantee, one will be in the oven before days end.

    Thanks for sharing...

  2. My father would have loved it. He kept a can of sweetened condensed milk in the freezer and ate it with a spoon... Ewwwwww!

    Thanks for sharing your father and the memories.

  3. So, this turned out to be one of your dad's favourites now. Well done, Barbara! This is an awesome recipe indeed.

  4. MMM, Custard is my all time weakness. Top anything with custard and I'm there! I've been hankering for bread and butter pudding eversince I was let down at my usual b&b place. Now all this talk of custard has got me craving it again. But the best part? Rice pudding is naturally gluten-free! :)

  5. Fascinating, I've never seen rice pudding like this before. I am not a huge rice pudding person, but I'd love to try this, it looks fab.
    *kisses* HH

  6. Oh Thank You Barbara!!! I love custard and rice pudding too - we grew up eating it. This recipe looks just about perfect to me! Your dad and I have a lot in common with our nasty food habits - condensed milk in coffee - yum!

  7. Serendipity! As my son left for school today he asked me to make rice pudding for him.
    What a lovely story about your father, he sounds a lot like mine, who also had a chocolate bar stash.

  8. Sweet post :) My grandma made rice pudding like yours, she baked it! I like the custard, too! Haven't had this in so long, definitely comfort food!

  9. This pudding topped with custard is totally irresistible!

  10. Wow, how pretty. And I love the story about your dad--and the photo! handsome guy! So let me get this straight, eating chocolate every night will ensure I live a long and happy life? Got it.

  11. I am definitely in the camp that loves both rice pudding and custard so I am absolutely certain I would adore this. Great story about your dad. You definitely have some good genes!

  12. Barbara, this is the most wonderful pudding I've come accrosed with. Do you think I can substitute wheat rice and still taste good?

  13. Louise: Bread or rice pudding...both equally delicious!

    Channon: My dad spread it on his toast like jam!

    Kristy: Many thanks!

    Vickys: My favorite too!

    HH: Loved your post today!

    Heather: I confess that when I see condensed milk listed as an ingredient in anything, I always take a serious look.

    Mimi: Funny coincidence! Both rice pudding AND chocolate bars.

    Dishes: I don't think too many people make this anymore and it's a shame!

    Natasha: Absolutely!

    Hungry: I'm laughing out loud. Yep, any excuse to eat chocolate!

    Joanne: I keep thinking the lenghthy lives of both my parents (my mother lived to 92) had to do with the natural foods that generation ate as much a genes.

    A & A: Don't know why not. Why don't you try it? You probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry right now!

  14. What a sweet story, Barbara! I think the secret to your father's health may have been in the chocolate (I'd like to think so, anyway!).

    What a simple but wonderful dessert!

  15. A beautiful post Barbara; I love you way you always write with such warmth and humour. It's pretty funny too because I was already thinking of rice pudding (but a different kind) and connecting it with a post about my Dad. I'm a HUGE fan of rice pudding and must say, yours looks truly amazing and I love the combination with custard (another of my crazes) and raisons. Can't wait to try it for myself and I'll let you know how it turns out.

  16. You know, I've never tried rice pudding. Sounds delicious though!

  17. I love rice pudding, but don't make it nearly often enough. This version sounds wonderful!

  18. Being a Michigander, I got my share of rice pudding, and loved it! Tapioca, and other puddings were desserts many nights.. Your recipe sounds great- as I love custards too!

  19. WOW! that looks so good. Comforting, warm and indulgent all at once. I like the way you weave that into the story about your dad.

  20. Rice pudding is one of my favourite things as well...what sweet memories of you dear dad! My grandpa enjoyed a good bowl of rice pudding too. This one you are sharing looks amazing..will have to make it soon..thanks so much.

  21. This looks absolutely delicious, Barbara - and I'm glad your father was willing to try something new :)

  22. This looks fantastic and I know my hubby, who is a rice pudding fanatic, would be in heaven with this!

  23. what a sweet picture of your dad. this is such a rich and delicious looking dessert. my husband is nuts for rice pudding, i'll definitely have to make this for him!

  24. Rice pudding is one of my favorite desserts. I love your version, it looks so creamy, delectable, so very good.

  25. Well, your dad is yet another proof that health is not all about exercise and diet. And that butter is good for you! Well, somewhat, in moderation. ;-)

    This pudding looks and sounds amazing. I used to be obsessed with rice pudding. Perhaps it's time to reignite that passion.

  26. I'm not a huge rice pudding fan, but my husband is!! I do like custard, though, so this might convert me!

  27. Your Dad is a man after my own heart! Chocolate daily? I think he's is on to something.
    Love dessert and this one looks magnificent! My family will insist on the traditional raisins but I think I would like to dried apricots, plumped of course!
    A sweet story,did I just write that?

  28. Susan: Don't I just wish it was the chocolate!!

    Vanessa: I love your blog too!

    Karly: It is really comfort food.

    Pam: We forget these wonderful old recipes...we're always searching for new ideas!

    BD: Not sure it's only a Michigan thing, but tapioca is a family favorite too.

    Bryan: I miss him a lot!

    Koralee: These recipes seem to run in families, don't they?

    Phoenix: It was sometimes an effort, but he was willing to try. Lucky thing, because my mother was an innovative cook.

    Bridgett: My sons love this one too.

    Teresa: We could hardly get my father to sit still long enough to get a good photo. This one is old, but I love it.

    Donna: I agree- and this time I made a creme anglaise for it. Forgotten just how good creme anglaise is!

    Sophia: Yes, he seems to have proven all the health addicts wrong. But I'm still going to be careful with my diet!

    Deborah: I always think of rice pudding as a thick spoonful. This is firm enough to hold together, but the custard is very apparent.

    Pam: And my mother had a dish of ice cream every night!

  29. Barbara, your dad looks stunningly handsome in that photo and the boat in the background makes for a wonderful picture. I love rice pudding, my grandfather use to eat it a lot that (and tapioca). Your recipe is the most interesting version of this classic comfort dish I have seen and I would love to give it a try.
    Have a wonderful weekend

  30. oh I've never seen pudding look so pretty! :)

  31. What a sweet story about your Dad, Barbara. I think I get my sweet tooth from mine too - he's the resident chocoholic and Mum had to hide our chocolates from him! This rice-pudding plus custard sounds heavenly. Sadly, I am the only person in the family who likes pudding or custard - well, guess I won't have to share then :)

  32. My father is just like that. The first time my mom baked whole wheat bread he declared it tasted like sawdust (he's since learned to like it), and he'll always have his fix of salame and of chocolate, daily but never more than a little bit. I guess moderation is really a key word in any kind of diet.

  33. Your Dad was a handsome guy. My grandpa has a serious sweet tooth and I think he and your Dad are of the same mind. Butter over pudding- OMG!

  34. Bunny: Yes, he was considered a hunk in his day!

    Simply Life: And it tastes as good as it looks, too.

    Shaz: I had a cousin who was allergic to chocolate, but could not resist it. We spent most of our childhood looking for the places our mothers had hidden it!

    Francesca: That's exactly what Dad did. It would be just one square of that chocolate bar.

    Devon: I know! Doesn't that just turn your stomach??

  35. That sounds awesome. I'm like your dad--the more super rich and sweeter it is, the more I love it.

  36. Wow, what a delectable treat! Your recipe sounds incredible. Also, great photograph of your dad.

  37. I thought you dad is movie star. He has that handsome and charming look. I am not sure why, I feel like all dad I know really love rice pudding. My dad was so crazy with rice pudding. The richer, the creamier, seem to be the most fondness.

  38. Your dad is so handsome, your rice pudding so delicious. What a wonderful post!

  39. Duck: He was an amazing man...and got on the scale every morning. Wrote it down too.

    George: Thanks, it's one of my favorites.

    Elra and Figtree: He was handsome all right. And loved desserts.

  40. Great post. Puddings were a common dessert when I was growing up. Lots of tapioca and custards.

  41. What a handsome man! I loved your story. I want to try this because I know that it will be delicious. Great photo!

  42. Your dad's brown sugar/butter conconction is my mom's absolute favorite oatmeal topping! It sounds fantastic on rice pudding as well. I love rice puddings of all kinds (hot, cold, thick, or thin) and this version looks fabulous (plus it's so pretty and elegant!).

  43. Sounds like an amazing dessert and your dad sounds like an amazing man!

  44. Hi Barbara,

    I loved hearing the story about your Father and a lovely photos of him.
    My Father loved his rice pudding too and my Mother would often bake the rice pudding, with raisins or sultanas and it was delicious.
    Thanks for sharing your recipe and I would like to give this a try.

    Have a wonderful weekend

  45. Great story and beautiful picture.Rice pudding is one of my favorite desserts.

  46. Barbara, I have always loved rice pudiing. To this day, I could eat it all day. This custard version of rice pudding is absolutely delightful. I have bookmarked this recipe.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful story about your dad.

  47. Barbara, what a lovely story about your Dad. Ninety-two is most impressive :-). I love Maida Heatter's desserts. Somehow, I missed this one. Thanks so much for the recipe. You have a wonderful blog.

  48. I'm not a rice pudding fan, but that is one great picture of your dad. Not that I knew him or anything ;), but I feel like I do through that photo.

  49. That looks so good and I love rice pudding.

    Handsome Dad.


  50. This looks so creamy and good and I like that it is baked...I haven't had rice pudding in ages!
    Your father really liked his butter, but then my parents had some interesting (fatty)foods they ate too.

  51. French "riz au lait" is one of my mother's favorite desserts! I definitely agree that it's a perfect comfort food--it's sweet and filling, great for winter weekends spent watching movies at home! Yours looks delicious :)

  52. Lea Ann: Yes, tapioca was right up there in my family too.

    Teacher: I really love that photo of Dad. He loved being on the water above all things.

    Faith: Isn't that funny? I have never heard of anyone liking that combination before.

    Carolyn: Amazing so many comments said they had this in their childhoods too.

    Erica: Mine too.

    Velva: the custard part makes it a lighter dessert.

    Mary: Maida Heatter is the best!

    Anna: That photo is one of the best I have of him.

    Renee: Thanks, he was.

    Lynda: My theory is back then, they were not eating processed foods and so ate healthier.

    Lucie: I think it tastes even better cold, the next day.

    Rita: He was!

  53. Barbara, what a classic. My husband loves rice pudding too. (he'd put cream on it, I think) This looks like the perfect thing for a cold winter day! Thanks

  54. Nice post, nice pictures of your dad! and I love how this look Barbara, really nice and georgeous!!! xx gloria

  55. Kate: Thanks! By the way, I am enjoying your verrine recipes so much!

    Gloria: He was a great Dad!

    Foodie: Yummy on your lentil pot pie!

  56. I love how food brings us vivid memories if friends and family. This recipe looks fab!

    Re: illustrations on my blog - I draw them all myself.

  57. How can you go wrong with that pudding!!! A great story and history for one of those classics of home and hearth... loved it!

  58. Your father was a very handsome man, Barbara. And if this dessert passed the test with him, then I MUST try it out! We love pudding here, of all kinds. This looks heavenly!

  59. Dionne: You are extremely talented!

    Long Past Remembered: When you have lots of cooks in your family history, the stories abound.

    Bella: Yes, he was handsome and a dear man as well.

  60. Personally I think it is today's processed frankenfoods that will kill you faster than butter or cream ever will.
    What a great dessert! I am a huge fan of rice pudding.

  61. Ahhhhh the best of both worlds! That looks really delicious - I can't wait to try it:)

  62. sad fact: i've never had rice pudding. i've always thought it looked like it'd just be a weird and icky texture in the mouth, but i'm starting to turn after reading this. your dad's brown sugar concoction sounds like it'd be delicious to me, as does your suggestion of adding a raspberry sauce. rice for dessert. who'da thunk it? :)

  63. Natashya: I agree 100%. We eat way too many processed foods.

    Stephanie: If you like both custard and rice pudding, it IS the perfect dessert.

    Grace: It often looks boring, I know. And knowing how much you like things cinnamon, you'd love Dad's concoction!

  64. Oh yum, you've got me salivating over here :) I love all your descriptions of the things you can add to this to make it even better. A fruit sauce on top sounds heavenly. I am a chocolate girl myself, so one of my favorite comfort foods is rice pudding with chocolate chips added. But I could easily fall in love with many of your versions.

  65. I so LOVEEEEEEE rice pudding.

  66. I am not sure why but I have always stayed away from rice pudding. I eat rice and I like puddings but rice and pudding just never clicked, for me. Barbara, yours looks so delicious, I just might try this.

  67. That was a lovely post about your dad Barbara. I too love rice pudding and custard, so a mix of the two sounds like the business :)

  68. Your Dad was a handsome guy! I love how he thought with regards to food! I'm going to try his invention. He knew what he was doing...butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon equals YUM!

    My grandma used to make us rice pudding. I haven't had it since she passed away a few years. I need to give your recipe a try.



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