When you have lemons, make lemonade. When you have beautiful, fresh-off-the-farm, golden yolked eggs with gorgeous, naturally hued, make…rice pudding. The eggs were a gift from my friend and cooking teacher Sue Sell, and they were so pretty that it was difficult to find the resolve to crack them open. (Check out the photo to see how the yolks contributed to the yellow color in the finished dessert…and yes, that is a feather.) But why rice pudding?
In our household, both Patrick and I have an aversion to eggs. We like them when they are highly flavored (as in omelets and frittata), but run screaming from egg salad, hard-boiled eggs, stuffed eggs, soft-boiled eggs…pretty much anything that looks or tastes like an unadulterated egg. Without spending too much time on a psychiatrist’s couch, we think it can be attributed to the mountains of eggs we were fed in our childhoods by well-meaning relatives who used eggs to get a quick meal on the table. Note that we were not allowed to say “I don’t like that” as children, but we do now that we are grown-ups. We often joke that one of the secrets to the longevity of our relationship (don’t ask how long…but it is longer than 25 years) is our mutual distrain for eggs. So when I have a lot of eggs, this rice pudding recipe gets pulled out of the virtual recipe box. You may think, “I don’t need a recipe for rice pudding!” But trust me, you do!
This is the same rice pudding that both Patrick’s Great Aunt Beulah and my Grandma Edith made, although they lived across the country from each other. That’s because they were taught the easy baked custard formula of two eggs, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk with a little vanilla. With that ratio at hand, you can whip up cup custards, or add leftover rice from the night’s dinner for a pudding. This was back when rice was long grain and plain with a little butter. Nowadays, you might have wild rice, brown rice, red rice, black rice, basmati, jasmine, sushi rice, or sticky rice cooked in coconut milk…but good old white rice—not so much. Leftover rice from take-out Chinese? Maybe. And as long as any of the above are plainly cooked and not seasoned with spices, garlic, and the like, they all make great rice pudding.
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