What could be more homey than a bowl of creamy rice pudding? In Scandinavia, rice pudding is a Christmas day tradition. There are hundreds of rice pudding recipes from all over the world, from Macedonian rice pudding with poppy seeds to African rosewater rice pudding. This one combines the more traditional raisins-and-cinnamon pudding with a twist of orange zest…rich and creamy, and great as a dessert or for breakfast! Here are two ways to make creamy orange zest rice pudding: One that’s cooked on the stove top (which I happened upon at the Dear Avocado blog), and one that’s made in your slow cooker to be plugged in late on Christmas Eve, ready for breakfast in the morning.

Rich and creamy orange zest rice pudding, on the stove top or in the slow cooker!

One of the great things about this recipe is that (for the stove top pudding) you can use leftover rice.  I don’t know about you, but I always seem to over-estimate how much rice we’re going to eat for dinner! For the stove top pudding, you just measure your cooked rice, milk (coconut milk works great in this recipe), sugar, spices and orange zest into a large pot. Let it simmer until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid. If you’re using the slow cooker, grease the crockery with butter and then add the ingredients (which are slightly different than the stove top recipe). Set the slow cooker on low and let it cook overnight. I’m going out on a limb here and guessing that your family might be like mine, and end up staying up way too late Christmas Eve (oh, maybe wrapping the gifts that didn’t get wrapped earlier…ahem). This means that the pudding will cook around 6-7 hours.

Rich and creamy orange zest rice pudding, on the stove top or in the slow cooker!

Once your pudding is cooked and the liquid is mostly absorbed (whether that’s in 20 minutes or the next morning), add the beaten eggs, cream, and vanilla. Cook and stir until the pudding is thick and creamy.  I tasted the pudding before I added the eggs, and if you’re looking for a vegan option you could definitely leave out the eggs without a problem.

Rich and creamy orange zest rice pudding, on the stove top or in the slow cooker!

In Nordic countries, it’s a tradition to stir one whole almond into the pudding. The person who gets the almond in their pudding gets a prize…a special candy (in Norway, it’s a pig made of marzipan!) or a special honor…for example, getting to decide who gets to open the first Christmas gift. This won’t be happening at our house due to a nut allergy (nobody enjoys the special honor of a trip to ER) but it’s a fun tradition nonetheless!

Creamy Orange Zest Rice Pudding
 
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Rice pudding is a wonderful dessert that makes me feel like a kid again - this creamy orange zest rice pudding elevates this dessert to a whole new level. Adapted from this recipe.
Author:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 cups cooked organic white rice (1½ cups dry rice, cooked until tender) *If using the slow cooker, 1 cup dry organic rice.
  • 4 cups whole, organic raw milk (you can use coconut or almond milk) *If using the slow cooker, 8 cups milk or milk substitute.
  • ¾ cup organic evaporated cane sugar or Rapadura (like this)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup organic raisins
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extrat
  • 2 organic, free range eggs (optional)
  • ⅓ cup organic, raw heavy whipping cream (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place cooked rice, milk, sugar, spices, raisins and orange zest in a large pot. Bring to a simmer, and continue to simmer (stirring frequently) for 20-25 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the pudding is creamy. Or, if you're making this in the slow cooker, put the dry rice, milk, spices and orange zest into a buttered slow cooker (save the raisins for later). Set the slow cooker to low and allow to cook overnight (or 6-8 hours).
  2. When the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, whisk the eggs, vanilla and cream together. Mix about a cup of the pudding into the egg mixture, then slowly add it to the rest of the pudding (to avoid having the eggs set...or, let your pudding cool a while before mixing in the eggs). If you'd like to make this vegan, you can omit this step...the pudding turns out fine without it!
  3. If you're making the stove top version, cook and stir the pudding again until it's creamy and thick (5-7 minutes). If you're making it in the slow cooker, add the raisins and turn the heat on the cooker up to high, allow it to cook another 30-45 minutes.
  4. Serve hot, or chill for a few hours before serving. Store leftovers (if you have any!) in the fridge.

 

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Do you have a favorite holiday food tradition?

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