– Brown Betty’s Custardy Rice Pudding Recipe –
Today I’m excited to post a recipe that embodies my idea of rice pudding recipe perfection. What occasion could merit the making of such a luscious dessert? Why, it’s the release of The Brown Betty Cookbook, a lovely baking book if there ever was one. I adore this book so much, but not just for the recipes. Beyond the beauty that is the book itself–I mean, just look at the photos below–there’s a wonderful story behind it. And I’m giving away a copy at the end of this post, so scroll down for more information.
In 2004, mother-daughter team Linda Hinton Brown and Norrinda Brown Hayat opened a tiny bake shop called Brown Betty in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia. Armed with nothing but a passion for baking and a collection of family recipes, Linda and Norrinda sweated through a difficult first year to eventually achieve success. It paid off! The Brown Betty Dessert Boutique now has three locations, all bustling with the foot traffic of devoted customers.
From Norrinda, in her own words:
“It was not until years later, after I moved to Washington, D.C., to practice law, that I reflected on how much richer my life had been because of my grandmom and her kitchen. It was during that time that I decided to open a bakery in Philadelphia with my mom, one that paid homage to my first “bestie,” Grandmom Betty, and all the other women in our family, whose stories I heard while growing up.”
“For as long as I can remember, my grandmom Betty made the same cake—a plain vanilla pound cake—every weekend. She learned how to make that pound cake as a small girl, in her grandmother’s kitchen, and baked it as a new wife, a new grandmother, and well into her seventies until her hands and fingers became too tired to whip and stir anymore.
My mom, Linda, raised in that busy, abundant kitchen, took my grandmom’s eighty-year-old recipe and made it a springboard for culinary experimentation, adding pineapple to the batter one time, substituting buttermilk for regular milk another, and over the years she amassed quite a collection of cake recipes of her own.”
Other stops on the culinary tour:
- Martha Stewart Weddings 10/15
- Daily Candy Philadelphia 10/16
- Oh Joy! 10/17
- Poppy Talk 10/22, 10/23
- Fly 10/24
- Here on The Culinary Life! 10/25
- Sweet Paul 11/1
- Style Me Pretty 11/4
- Serious Eats 11/5, 11/7, & 11/9
- Young House Love 11/19
- 1 tablespoon plus 3/4 stick unsalted butter
- 4 1/2 cups whole milk
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup long-grain white rice
- 5 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Coat a 9x13x2-inch casserole dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Prepare a cool water bath.
- Combine the milk and 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt in the top of a double boiler (with simmering water in the bottom to prevent scorching) over medium heat. Add the rice and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Cover the double boiler and cook for an additional 25 minutes or until the rice is still tender yet firm. Set the top of the double boiler into the water bath and stir the rice to cool the mixture and stop the cooking process.
- While the rice is cooking, in a medium bowl, whip the egg yolks briefly, then stir in the vanilla.
- In another medium bowl, mix the sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, nutmeg, cinnamon, and the remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt. Add this spice mixture to the egg yolk mixture and stir until well blended.
- Pour the cooked rice mixture into a large bowl. Add the egg mixture, heavy cream, and remaining 3⁄4 stick of butter and stir until well blended.
- Pour the rice pudding mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Set the casserole dish in a larger roasting pan and add enough water to the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the casserole dish. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
- Remove the roasting pan from the oven (with the casserole dish still in the roasting pan) and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove the casserole dish from the roasting pan and set it on a cooling rack. Cool the pudding for 1 hour at room temperature, then refrigerate the pudding until it is completely chilled.