Rice pudding: you either love it or you hate it. It isn’t a dessert with the popularity of ice cream or pie, but it does have the versatility to be sweet or savory. In the United States, traditional rice pudding is a sweet vanilla-flavored pudding with white rice thrown in, some raisins and a dash of nutmeg. That’s pretty good. Not really the kind of thing that gets the kids excited, though. But even if you’ve always been a rice pudding hater, we have a recipe that has a really good chance of changing your mind. It’s not just Cheesecake Rice Pudding, either. We’ve added a Chocolate Rice Pudding variation, too–and either of these will make a big difference in celebrating National Rice Pudding Day on August 8th…
- 4 cups half-and-half
- 2 cups cooked medium grain rice
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, beaten and brought to room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Variation:
- 6 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes and softened to room temperature
- 2 tablesoons powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-process)
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Pour 3 1/2 cups of the half-and-half, cooked rice, sugar, and salt into a large 3 to 4 quart pot. Stir constantly over medium heat with a wooden spoon or flat silicone spatula until the mixture thickens, 25-35 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Place the beaten egg in a medium bowl. Slowly add a spoonful of the hot pudding to the egg, whisking vigorously and constantly. Continue to temper the egg with 3-4 more spoonfuls of the hot pudding, whisking constantly. Add the tempered pudding and egg mixture into the pot of hot rice pudding, stirring quickly to incorporate. Return the pot to medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture boils.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the last 1/2 cup of half-and-half and the vanilla extract.
For the cheesecake version, stir the softened cubes of cream cheese into the hot pudding. Add the powdered sugar and stir well until the cream cheese is fully melted and incorporated. Transfer the pudding to a large bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to avoid a skin forming and refrigerate until ready to serve. The pudding can be served warm, room temperature or cold and will keep well covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
For the chocolate version, add the cocoa, powdered sugar and 1/3 to 1/2 of the chocolate chips to the hot pudding. Stir until melted and smooth. Transfer the pudding to a large bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to avoid a skin forming. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Once chilled, stir in the remaining chocolate chips. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled. It will keep well covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.