Rice Pudding

25 Jan

Rice Pudding

M: When this recipe for rice pudding came up, I was reminded of a poem by A.A. Mile that begins…

What is the matter with Mary Jane?
She’s crying with all her might and main,
And she won’t eat her dinner – rice pudding again –
What is the matter with Mary Jane?

I imagine there was a time when I might have identified with the six-year-old in this poem, throwing a tantrum over a bowl of mushy glop mixed with eggs and milk. Certainly my palate has matured over the years, but I also suspect this is not the recipe poor Mary Jane was served.

Versions of rice pudding have a long and varied history the world around.  Asia, The Middle East, Europe, South America… they all have versions going back hundreds of years.  In cultures in which rice has been plentiful and inexpensive, rice pudding has been a staple for sustenance and health.  Easy to digest for young and old alike, it has longstanding value in the fields of medicine and nutrition.  Rice was first cultivated in America in Georgia and South Carolina  in the late 1600’s, along the West African slave trade routes.  Rice pudding quickly became a staple throughout the colonies.

I know.  Sustenance food.  Medicinal value.  Easy to digest.  That’ll send anyone scrambling for a spoon.  For many who have never had the opportunity to enjoy a well made rice pudding, it has probably never made it beyond “that mushy glop”.   If you are one of those (and most certainly for the already enlightened), I encourage you to give this recipe a try.

This recipe doesn’t seem to work too hard, but manages to get it just right.  Not overly sweet, spiced delicately and it’s creamy, but firm.  It’ll still fill you up nicely and fits the bill if you’re under the weather or warming up on a cold, rainy day.  But now you’ll also be happy to find it on the table to fuel the sunniest of days or dispositions.

Now let’s check back in on little Mary Jane, shall we?

What is the matter with Mary Jane?
She’s perfectly well and she hasn’t a pain,
And it’s lovely rice pudding for dinner again!
What is the matter with Mary Jane?

Still complaining?  Well, you know.  She’s six.

Recipe: Rice Pudding

Summary: Traditional rice pudding done right. Hearty, creamy and oh, so tasty.   From The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook.


  • 3/4 c Raw White Rice
  • 2 c Water
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/3 c Raisins
  • 1 T Whiskey
  • 2 c Whole Milk
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 c Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Mace


  1. Bring rice, water and salt to boil in a saucepan, then cover and reduce to simmer 15 minutes.
  2. Combine raisins and whiskey in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat milk in a saucepan to 180 degrees, then remove from heat.
  4. Whisk eggs, sugar, cinnamon and mace together in a large bowl.
  5. Stir in raisins and whiskey.
  6. Stir in rice.
  7. Add milk slowly, whisking constantly.
  8. Pour mixture into a greased 1 and 1/2 quart baking dish.
  9. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  10. If pudding is set, but not browned, place under broiler for a few minutes.
  11. Serve warm.



Posted in Dairy, Eggs, Rice


Leave a Reply


  1. Zora Margolis

    January 31, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    A lovely concept, but I am a bit confused by instruction #9, which suggests a knife inserted in the center should come out clean. This seems at odds with the photograph, which shows a creamy, flowing consistency. Surely a knife inserted into the pudding in the photograph would not come out clean.

  2. Communal Skillet

    January 31, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    @Zora I confess I did not knife test it. I pulled it from the oven when it was brown and firm, but it did have a thin layer of not at all displeasing cream on the surface that ran slightly when we dove into it. The creamy flow comes off with much more prominence in than picture than it seemed in person. This is a very firm rice pudding.