A while back I decided that my cooking needed to include more whole grains. I searched the internet and kept coming back to a site that I’d heard a lot about: Anson Mills. Anson Mills is a purveyor of heirloom and organic grains. Based in Columbia, South Carolina, they specialize in all manner of whole grains, from wheat, corn and rice, to farro and buckwheat. There are specialty flours for baking and whole grains for both savory and sweet applications.I made an order and since then I have used their wonderful products to make whole grain bread with Red Fife bread flour, buckwheat pancakes, shrimp and grits, farro salad, and now, today, this rice pudding. And I have to say, this is a very good rice pudding. It’s not stodgy and thick or bland, but light, rich, and perfectly seasoned with vanilla bean and a little cinnamon. I added the optional currants, because I like currants (they’re sweet little nuggets of flavor and texture).
The magic ingredient is Carolina Gold rice, which is soaked in milk and water overnight before simmering to tenderness with some sugar and cinnamon. A basic custard sauce, seasoned with vanilla bean and a little more sugar, is added to the cooked rice and chilled over an ice water bath. The last step is the addition of lightly-whipped cream and the dessert is complete. The ultimate comfort food of our childhood gets elevated to gourmet status by the addition of a few special ingredients.
I hope you’ll give this one a try. And just to be clear, Anson Mills did not compensate me to sing their praises. I just love their products and the accompanying recipes. And, because I did not change their rice pudding recipe, I will send you here to check it out. Think of this as a chance to expand your culinary repertoire in this New Year; and a little comfort food might be a good place to start.