Use any white rice you have --
*Carolina Long Grain -- produce a looser custard with fluffy, slightly chewy grains
*Basmati -- have a nutty flavor and add a perfumed note to the pudding
*Jasmine -- offers floral notes and a slightly soft, sticky texture
*Arborio -- the higher starch content lends the pudding a creamy, somewhat sticky consistency
- 4 2/3 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup white rice (Carolina long grain, basmati, jasmine or arborio)
- 7 Tbs granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
- 2 large egg yolks
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream for serving (optional)
In a 4-quart saucepan, combine 4 cups of the milk with the rice and sugar. With a paring knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out the seeds with the back of the knife, and add them to the pan. Add the scraped bean and the cinnamon stick and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring frequently but gently, until the rice is completely tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Whisk in about 1 cup of hot rice mixture to temper the eggs. Pour the egg mixture back into the pan, add the remaining 2/3 cup of milk, and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended. Put the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, just until the mixture begins to boil, about 2 minutes.
Transfer the rice pudding to a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on its surface. Set the bowl in an ice bath to cool the pudding quickly. When cook, discard the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean. Divide the pudding amont 6 ramekins, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. Top with spoonful of whipped cream, if desired.