I love cooking this time of year. In fact I would have to say it is probably my most favorite time of year to cook. I am especially fond of the foods that characterize the season - winter squash, the wide variety of apples and pears and citrus, oh my! At the top of the list is my love of everything pumpkin. An American original, pumpkins are high in fiber, Vitamin A, beta-carotene and low in fat (that is, before you add it to pies and breads).
I try to incorporate pumpkin in as many dishes, both savory and sweet, as I can. I once cut up a small jack-o-lantern and put it in a chicken stew. It was so yummy and different, my husband still talks about it. I also like to saute diced pieces of pumpkin with onions and peppers for a wonderfully different side dish. But of course, I like it best in desserts. I am the one who makes the pumpkin pies for our family's Thanksgiving dinner. I have yet to find a commercially prepared pie that can compare to a baked-from-scratch one.
So, as as part of my pumpkin fest this time of year, I have incorporated some pureed pumpkin (from the can) into a traditional rice pudding. Rice pudding is a very big hit in my family, especially my husbands family. It has become a rather staple addition to our potluck family gatherings but, I am always looking for ways to change it up a bit. Adding pumpkin seemed like an easy way to give it a new flavor.
When I make rice pudding, I always use my fathers recipe which calls for cooking the rice directly in a milk and sugar mixture. When the rice has fully cooked, eggs are than added to give the pudding an incredible richness and luscious texture. Don't ask my why, but this time I elected to try a different approach. One that called for cooking the rice in water first, and then recooking it in the milk and sugar mixture with no eggs at all in the recipe. I choose to do it this way this time because so many reputable cookbooks prescribed this simple method. While the end product was good, it was not great, and I would never do it this way again.
While the pictures illustrate the method I used this time, I have written the recipe to reflect the "cook in milk with eggs added" approach. A second disclaimer -- I broke my camera the other day. Well, actually it was my husband's camera. So, while I wait for it to be repaired, I have used a spare Kodak camera that, frankly, is simply not up to the task of taking good enough pictures for this blog. As a result, many of my photos illustrating the stages of cooking the pudding did not turn out. Fortunately, making rice pudding is not rocket science. The process is pretty simple. It just requires some patience to wait for the rice to cook. Though this recipe did not meet my expectations, I would definitely recommend adding pumpkin to my standard rice pudding.
|Reminder- don't need to cook in water first, no butter required|
Pumpkin Rice Pudding
4 cups whole milk
1 c. long grain white rice
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. pureed plain pumpkin
1 tsp. orange zest
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 T. vanilla extract
3/4 c. golden raisins
|Reminder - cook rice, salt and sugar in the milk first|
Plump raisins in a small bowl of hot water. After 15 minutes, drain and squeeze out excess water and set aside.
In a large saucepan bring to a simmer the rice, sugar, salt and milk. Cook at a medium to low simmer till rice is fully cooked and mixture begins to thicken, stirring frequently, about 40 minutes.
Add the vanilla extract, eggs, raisins, pumpkin, orange zest and pumpkin pie spice and bring to a light boil. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. Pour into a serving dish, dust with cinnamon and let cool. Can be served either warm or cold.