Rice Pudding (Swedish Risgrynsgröt)

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Risgrynsgröt is a Swedish rice pudding that is traditionally served on Christmas Eve. After the rice pudding is made, an almond, called a mandel*, is placed in the pot. Whoever gets the mandel is either the next to be married, or guaranteed to have a year of good luck, depending on who in my family you ask.

When my sister and I were little kids, every Christmas Eve the mandel would magically split in half and we would both end up with it in our bowls. We were both lucky!

Rice pudding, I have realized, is so warm and creamy and comforting it deserves to be eaten more frequently than once a year. Also, it’s so easy to make. So, so easy. And here’s the absolute best part about rice pudding: eating leftovers for breakfast. In the morning, it magically transforms from “rice pudding” to “rice porridge” so you can eat it without a second thought.

*For 29 years I have believed that “mandel” meant treasure/prize/luck in Swedish. I just Googled it and, nope, it means almond.

 Ingredients

Serves 6

  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 4 cups milk (I used skim, but whole is best!)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Toppings

On Christmas Eve, we always eat risgrynsgröt with cinnamon/sugar and nutmeg sprinkled on top. But feel free to go all out!

Some ideas: fresh fruit, raisins, dried cranberries, nuts, brown sugar, maple syrup, agave nectar…

Directions

  1. Rinse and drain the rice.
  2. In a medium pot, bring the rice, milk, and all the sugar to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for around 25 minutes, until the rice is soft and the pudding has thickened. While it simmers, be sure to stir occasionally.
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  4. Remove from the stove and stir in the vanilla.
  5. I like to eat my risgrynsgröt warm, but you can serve it warm or cold. Serve with toppings of your choice!

Sourdough Bread Pudding

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Sourdough isn’t traditionally used for bread pudding, but I had a loaf that I needed to use up. It occurred to me that the slight tang of the sourdough might actually be a nice contrast to the sweetness of bread pudding. I loved it! (David, I should note, likes things a little sweeter and prefers a more traditional bread pudding. Though he did go back for seconds…)

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf (14 slices) of sourdough bread
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • chopped walnuts, to serve
  • maple syrup, to serve

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F

  1. Slice your bread into 1″ pieces.
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  2. In a large bowl, use a mixer to combine the eggs, milk, and vanilla.
  3. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon, followed by the raisins.
  4. By hand,  slowly stir in the bread. It’s a lot of bread, so it helps to do this in batches. Add 1/4 of the bread, stir (the moisture from the liquid will reduce the size), then add more bread, stir, etc.
  5. Pour into a greased 8×8 baking pan.
  6. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. This will allow the bread to absorb the liquid and flavor.
  7. Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes.
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  8. Serve with a splash of maple syrup and chopped walnuts on top.
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