Baking with B: Classic Rice Pudding with Fresh Raspberries

If any of you follow me and the saga of my porch garden on Instagram you’ll know that I have a couple of raspberry plants that over the summer have produced the occasional fruit. (To be honest, I didn’t have high expectations to begin with so I was happy I got any berries at all.)

Well, wouldn’t you know, mere days before October arrives, these little plants decide to wake up and grow raspberries like there’s no tomorrow. They’re pretty teensy and tart, but there’s a fresh crop coming out each day. However, I still didn’t have quite enough to bake with so I had to rack my brain to figure out what I could do with them.

Enter rice pudding: one of the greatest desserts to make when you have practically nothing in your pantry and you’re craving something sweet. It’s creamy with a hint of vanilla and it’s the perfect delivery method for sweet-tart raspberries (although really, I think any fruit will do).

Oh, and did I mention it’s actually pretty easy to make? See what I mean for yourself…

Classic Rice Pudding with Fresh Raspberries (makes approx. 4 servings)

(loosely based on the recipe found here)

3/4 c. uncooked white rice (short or medium grain is best)

2 c. milk

2 tbsp vanilla custard powder

1/3 c. white sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp butter

raspberries, to taste (or fruit of your choice)

Note: I used vanilla custard powder in this recipe because it gave me such a rich, creamy vanilla flavor. The original recipe suggests adding 1/2 tsp vanilla extract at the very end, which is perhaps a little more traditional than my method.

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 c. of water to boil. Add rice and let simmer on low, covered for approximately 20 minutes.

Whisk custard powder in with milk until dissolved. In a separate saucepan, bring 1 1/2 c. of milk to a slow boil, stirring occasionally to prevent scalding. Add in cooked rice and sugar, stirring to combine. Let simmer on low for 15-20 minutes until texture becomes quite thick.

B’s Tip: I suggest adding the sugar last to your mixture because I added it first while the milk is still heating up. That’s ok, too, but if you’re not watching it (and I wasn’t) the sugar will end up caramelizing and burning at the bottom of your pan, making it hotter than you really want it to be. On the bright side, I ended up with all these really delicious flakes of burnt sugar scattered throughout my pudding. It was a lemons-into-lemonade kind of situation.

Stir in remaining 1/2 c. milk (you may want to give it a slight whisk beforehand) and beaten egg. Stir to combine and let cook for two minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Let pudding sit for 10 minutes before serving. Scatter with raspberries (or fruit of your choice.

Rice pudding can be served hot or cold, but I prefer it slightly warm because that’s when the texture feels just right. (So creamy! So vanilla-y!) If you’re not a fan of rice pudding because all you’ve had is the gelatinous, cold stuff from the grocery store, I ask you to try this recipe and reconsider. It may have a reputation as a dessert for the elderly, but I think you’ll find it’s actually delicious for all ages.

Happy baking!

B

Baking with B appears (usually) every other Monday on the Keeping Busy with B Blog. Find out why I like baking so much here. For more of my baking, click here. And for even more recipe inspiration, check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.

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Fall 2018 Reading List

I made the most amazing discovery over the summer; one of my neighbors works for a big bookstore chain that apparently has crazy book sales every year for their employees. According to him, you walk away with a bag of books for pennies. Like, literally a bag. This works out in two ways: one, he gets a copious amount of reading material for a cheap price and two, I get to raid his bookshelves for free. Win-win. Here are some of the titles I picked out that are gracing my bookshelves this month:

  1. Friendswood by René Steinke
  2. America Pacfica by Anna North
  3. A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell
  4. Arcadia by Iain Pears
  5. Sleeping Giants

Psst- wanna see which books have previously graced my bookshelves? Click here. Want even more fun reading recommendations? I’ve got some for you here. Don’t forget to find me on Goodreads so we can snoop each other’s bookshelves and dish about our favourites.

My Dirty Little YA Secret

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A couple of years back I gushed a little bit about how much I enjoyed many of the books that were on my high school’s required reading list. I have to confess, though, that there’s a little more to that story than I originally let on.

See, the thing you have to understand about me is that I read pretty much everything if it a) sparks my interest or b) someone else tells me it it’s good. When I was younger, that sometimes meant diving into books that were maybe a little age inappropriate. Now that I’m a little (ahem) older, my reading choices still don’t always match my age.

Ok, so maybe young adult fiction isn’t your thing. Authors like Jaclyn Moriarty (Feeling Sorry for Celia, The Year of Secret Assignments) and Jerry Spinelli (Star Girl), though, might change your mind- both are sharp, witty, and write books with characters who seem mature beyond their years. (Can we talk about Jaclyn Moriarty for a second, though? For me, she brought the epistolary novel into the current century. Feeling Sorry for Celia, for example, is told through notes that Celia’s friend and her mother leave for each other on the refrigerator door.)

Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle and the His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass) by Philip Pullman also feature characters (and subject matters) that stretch far beyond the teenage years, despite the fact that they’re more commonly marketed to adolescents. (Please watch the film version of I Capture the Castle with a super-young Henry Cavill and Rose Byrne. Also, did I mention Henry Cavill?)

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YA fiction is also the only place where fantasy, action and the contemporary world combine seamlessly- series like Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay) and the Lorien Legacy series (which starts with I Am Number Four and spans five more titles) feature way more action and suspense than a lot of fiction I’ve read that’s intended for older audiences. The fact that they’re willing to get creative with fantastical and science fiction elements doesn’t hurt, either. The Divergent series (Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant) by Veronica Roth is actually one of the more intelligent science fiction series you’ll come across, and I had to include Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series (which totals six books including the first, City of Bones) because it’s such a flipping good romance. (Shout-out to all the others who got their hearts broken when they found out Shadowhunters was cancelled on Netflix.)

What are some of the YA titles you’ve read and loved but were kind of afraid to confess to reading up until now? I’m thirty-something and I spilled; I’d love to hear your suggestions too! Comment below or drop me a line at keepingbusyb@gmail.com. We can keep your dirty YA secret just between you and I.

Psst- wanna see which books have previously graced my bookshelves? Click here. Want even more fun reading recommendations? I’ve got some for you here. Don’t forget to find me on Goodreads so we can snoop each other’s bookshelves and dish about our favourites.