Rijstpap

We are slowly settling into winter and it’s got me craving sweet comfort food. And none the better than rice pudding or as I like to call it, rijstpap (dutch).

It might not seem so but rice pudding has been around for ever and is popular all over the world. If one so fancies, they can view the list here.

Nevertheless rijstpap holds a special place, I think, in every Flemish child’s heart.

We used to be told this was a dish that was served in heaven with golden spoons. As a kid this really stuck with me and I beheld this dessert as something very special, feeling very royal when eating it.

Actually this old saying came from the fact that the ingredients were very expensive and not available for everyone like it is now. Either vanilla pods, cinnamon or saffron were used to flavour the rice pudding. Usually it was served as special occasions as pictured in Pieter Bruegel de Oude’s painting “De Boerenbruiloft”.

So this is my rice pudding as prepared by my mom and slightly modified by me.

Ingredients:

(makes 10 portions of rice pudding and holds well a couple a days in the fridge)

  •  1 mug of pudding rice
  • 5 to 6 mugs of semi-skimmed milk
  • 5 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 pinch of saffron threads (optional)
  1. Take a large/deep saucepan and drop an ice cube in it. Swirl it around until it’s melted. (This should prevent the rice pudding from sticking to the bottom while cooking)
  2. Pour the milk in the saucepan (if you like a more runny rice pudding opt for 6 mugs).
  3. Cut the vanilla pod in half, scrape the seeds and put in the milk along with the saffron. Set on a medium heat.
  4. In the meantime rinse one mug of the pudding rice in a sieve with cold water.
  5. Once the milk is almost boiling add the rice and stir. Set on the lowest heat possible.
  6. It should now cook like this for at least 40min to 1 hour, depending on your hob. Stir every 10 min to prevent the rice from sticking.
  7. Half way add the sugar.
  8. It is done cooking when the mixture is starting to get creamy and most of the milk has been absorbed by the rice. When it’s cooling it sets and absorbs the milk even more, so don’t be afraid if it looks like there is still too much milk. Have a taste too to see if the rice is cooked through.
  9. Transfer to a dish and leave to cool.
  10. Serve with some brown sugar, maple or golden syrup!

Enjoy!

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