It all began in the early days when we were dating and he took me to a Sunday brunch buffet at a hotel restaurant. For that twenty-something hungry man, an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet was heaven on a plate. Sausage, bacon, eggs, ham, pancakes, biscuits, gravy and waffles- all in the same meal. The pinnacle of delight was the rice pudding which I can still remember him introducing me to since I had no idea what it was and had never before eaten. The hotel's cold rice pudding was served in a massive but neatly mounded heap that I believe had been turned out of a mold or large pan serving as such. The pudding was heavily coated with ground cinnamon and served with whipped cream. Mr. Dirtywrench loved it. I enjoyed it too and served myself up some every time we visited for brunch.
The rice pudding recipe I found to make in my own kitchen was in my newly (in 1981) acquired Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook which I had received at a wedding shower. That cookbook, as well as the orange Betty Crocker, was what fed us and nudged me along in my kitchen career. Over the years this rice pudding has been our constant family favorite and the kids still get excited when they smell the cinnamon emanating from the kitchen. It is most delicious while still warm from the oven with fresh whipped cream but eating it cold for breakfast can't be beat either! It's a great way to use rice leftover from dinner.
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk (or half and half)
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine all the ingredients and pour into a shallow baking dish or small casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Stir. Sprinkle the top with ground cinnamon. Continue baking until custard is set, 20-30 minutes more. Serves six.
(I always double or triple this recipe and make a massive pan. One serving each is never enough around here.)