A Perry Original

Portuguese Rice Pudding

Portuguese Rice Pudding Sorry Margaret, I had to make just a few changes. I love family recipes that kinda leave you to fill in the blanks. Seriously! My grandmother would say about a handful of salt. Or while shaking the cumin over soup or beans about this much. This rice pudding recipe had no cooking instructions but I’ve heard (Thank you Melissa Lopes) slow cooking while stirring constantly is important. And in cast iron if you have it. I’m always looking for an excuse to buy kitchen tools. Take a look at my new cast iron.

Wish I could have used the dairy’s milk. Heavy with cream. So, when Margaret says whole milk she means it!

If you aren’t into sugar … know this is very low in sugar but still sweet. Yes, I could eat the whole thing! It has very little similarity to the rice pudding you find at your grocer’s. It’s very creamy and the rice is noticed but not chewy. Because Margaret (my second cousin btw) suggested as an option adding vanilla pudding mix I decided her recipe may require eggs if the pudding wasn’t used. And being a bit of a purist, trying not to use processed if I can get around it, I added egg yolks. Again, the cooking is crucial to thickening and helps with clumping tendencies too. Margaret very well could have made the recipe without eggs or pudding mix.

Always made for a very large crowd … I’ve made the recipe more suitable for a family of four or five.



1/2 cup short grain white rice (I used Arborio-an Italian short grain but it’s your choice. Use quality rice.)
1 Tablespoon butter Water per cooking instructions on the rice package
4 Cups of whole milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Egg yolks-hand beaten
Rind of one lemon Or teaspoon of lemon zest
1 Cinnamon stick
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1/4 Teaspoon salt or to taste
Thin lemon slices for garnish and ground cinnamon for sprinkling

Measure all ingredients before you begin. You will be stirring this rice from beginning to end 45 minutes or so. Have everything close by so you can reach it. Have your iPad or Kindle available for entertaining while you stir.

Add the milk to a saucepan, preferably a pan with a pour spout. Heat over low heat to just about a simmer … Do this while beginning the next steps.

In a heavy bottomed pot (cast iron if you have it) melt the butter over low almost medium heat. Your pot will take some time to reach a good temperature. Add the rice to the butter as the pot is increasing in temperature. Stir for a couple of minutes.

Add about a third of the required water to cook the rice (See rice package for the amount of water needed to cook 1/2 cup rice-rice types require different amounts) Cook until the rice has absorbed the water, stirring constantly. Add the second third of the water and do the same, stirring constantly. The starch in the rice will cause the rice to thicken. Add the last bit of water and cook until the rice is done and the water is gone.

Now for the longest cooking time … About 30-40 minutes. Add the rind of the lemon or the zest or both and the cinnamon stick along with one cup of the milk to the rice. (Keep the milk saucepan hot but not boiling during this process) Continue stirring rice mixture until thickened. Add another cup of milk along with the sugar. Continue stirring until hot and thickening. This heating process should be just at a simmer. Add another cup of milk and stir until thickening. Add the last of the milk and salt, if using. Continue stirring. The pudding should begin to take form … The rice becomes more noticeable as the liquid begins to cook down.

Remove about 1/4 cup of the hot rice mixture and quickly beat it into the yolks. Pour this back into the pot and stir well to avoid ‘scrambled eggs’ in your pudding. Add the vanilla. Continue stirring. When it becomes the consistency of hot pudding it’s done. Remember it thickens even more when cooled.

Remove the rind and cinnamon stick. Let cool to room temperature. This pudding is served at room temperature or after it’s refrigerated. Your choice. Enjoy! Portuguese Rice Pudding

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