Blog

March 22, 2024

Rice Pudding

By

by Robin Kocherhans

Field Kitchen Manager

Robin Kocherhans, Culinary Crafts, Kitchen Field Manager, black chef uniform, brunette, catering, rice pudding, Dad's recipe

I was nine when my dad died.

My brain dealt with the grief by shutting down, and over two decades later, I still struggle to find memories of him. But every once in a while, I get pieces:

Him helping me deliver newspapers.

Or the times he’d bundle my sisters and me in layers of snow gear and blankets and pile us into a cheap plastic sled hitched to his snowmachine. He’d drive us around for hours over frozen streets and across icy rivers into the silent forests of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Most of all, though, I remember his joy for food. A surprising number of the few memories I do have of him revolve around his culinary experiments.

Dad's Rice Pudding

One of my most cherished memories is of him turning leftover dinner rice into bowls of piping hot rice pudding. We’d scarf it down, and then, with our bellies full of its comforting warmth, he’d send us off to bed.

But when he died, that recipe died with him.

It had only ever been written inside his head and in the motions of his hands stirring rice that bubbled on the stove. I tried to recreate it over the years, but it never quite turned out the same.

Still, I persisted. Whenever the weight of missing would become too heavy, I’d give his rice pudding another go. Experimenting, just like he did, made him feel closer and the sadness less overwhelming, until eventually the act itself of making—of using my hands to stir a bubbling pot of rice—was enough.

So now, every time I make the rice pudding recipe I created and cobbled together from my attempts over years and decades, I remember.

I remember how much my dad loved me. I remember his hands, stained with grease, holding a wooden spoon as I stood on a chair, my hands on the counter so I could lean in and watch. And even though grief never really fades, making this rice pudding stills its waves and keeps me from forgetting.

rice pudding, rice, red berries

Rice Pudding

Ingredients

  • 3 cups uncooked rice
  • 4 ½ cups water
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 tsp cornstarch
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 4 ½ cups whole milk
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla
  • 6 egg yolks, beaten
  • allspice or clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook the rice with the water, either over the stove or in a rice cooker. If using leftover rice, skip this step and replace these two ingredients with 8-9 cups of cooked rice
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add this mixture, plus the milk, to the cooked rice in a large pot and place on stove over medium to medium-high heat. Heat to a boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.
  3. Slowly temper the eggs by adding about 1 cup of the hot rice mixture to the beaten yolks. Once mixed, add the tempered eggs back into the rest of the rice mixture along with any spices you might prefer. I usually start with a ½ tsp of clove or allspice, ¼ tsp of nutmeg, and 1 tsp of cinnamon and then bump it up from there. Mix everything until fully combined and return the pan to medium heat.
  4. Let your rice pudding heat up until it thickens and starts to bubble. Remove from the heat and divide into ½ cup portions (or more, if measuring with your heart). Eat plain or finish with your favorite toppings. Mine usually consist of fresh blackberries with an additional sprinkle of spices.

27x winner Utah’s Best of State

24x Best of State Caterer

3x Best of the Best / Hospitality

1x Entrepreneur of the Year