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An easy three main ingredient Dairy Free Traditional Rice Pudding recipe that you are going to love. There are a handful of recipes that I consider to be true traditional recipes. Dating back a squillion years at least. I think of rice pudding as being one of those recipes.
How you cook it however, determines just how traditional a recipe is. Traditional Rice Pudding is baked in the oven or in a range cooker. These days we tend to cook on gas or more commonly electricity and frankly don’t always have the time to spend baking an old fashioned rice pudding.
That’s where this Quick Dairy Free Traditional Rice Pudding comes in handy. You see, this rice pudding is made on the hob in under 45mins. Old fashioned rice puddings take approximately 2 hours to make and bake. The difference between the two? We’ll come onto that in a minute.
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What type of rice is used in rice pudding?
Traditional rice pudding is made with pudding rice. You can see this isn’t going to be rocket science here! Pudding rice is widely available in the rice aisle in the supermarket, however I have seen it in the baking section too.
Pudding rice is dinky short fat grains of rice with very little taste. This makes in the perfect grain to make into a dessert as it has no significant flavour to impart in a creamy pudding.
The fact that the grains are so plump means that they take a good long time to cook, even if you want an al dente (slightly firm) finish. I’ll be honest, and will say I’ve tried to work out if there’s a difference between pudding and Arborio rice (used in risottos). As usual, the internet is awash with conflicting thoughts from well meaning self proclaimed experts. In my honest opinion I can see no difference in the structure and both have a very high starch content. This is what makes puddings and risottos so deliciously creamy.
Incidentally, Arborio gets its name from the town Arborio in Italy.
Is Pudding Rice Gluten Free?
Technically pudding and Arborio rice should be gluten free. What you will need to look out for is any potential risk for cross contamination. Any may contains may be due to where the rice is processed and packaged i.e. a factory that handles gluten containing cereals on the same production lines.
I have seen a friend of mine go through an entire bag of rice with a may contain on it and they found 4 suspect grains that looked nothing like rice. So if you ever wondered why manufacturers add the ‘may contain due to….’ disclaimer. Now you know why!
Just so you know, I got my pudding rice from Aldi and it holds no may contains on the packaging.
What makes this a Traditional Rice Pudding?
The ingredients are what makes my pudding recipe traditional. Okay, okay, it’s dairy free. You got me. However, traditional rice puddings contain rice, milk, sugar and a smear of fat to grease the pudding basin. Oh, and let us not forget the nutmeg. That is quintessentially the key ingredient here to make this traditional in flavour – nutmeg.
The two images below are a brief insight into the history of the rice pudding. As you can see Mrs Beeton’s first recipe is super charged with alcohol and dried fruits too. Not unlike my Festive Rice Pudding flavoured with Mincemeat and made dairy free.
Quick and Easy Hob Rice Pudding
The traditional rice pudding you see pictured, is my dairy free rice pudding made on the hob, or stove top. This method is great if you want rice pudding sooner rather than later. You can also control the thickness of the rice pudding consistency. It’s also handy as this recipe means you can add sugar and nutmeg to taste.
From start to finish the rice pudding is made in 45mins. 5 plus minutes to bring the ingredients to the boil on the hob whilst constantly stirring. 30 minutes to leave the pudding to simmer with a lid on (must add a lid). Then the last 5-10 minutes to continue to simmer with the lid removed. This last step helps to thicken the pudding to a creamy consistency.
What you don’t get is the familiar baked rice skin that forms on top of the pudding. This is a signature of the Baked Rice Pudding.
Another down side to this method I guess, is that you’re on alert a bit more so need to make sure you set a timer.
How do you make Baked Rice Pudding
The baked rice pudding is the true traditional method. Made in an oven proof dish ideally with a lid.
The pudding basin is smeared with a thick layer of butter, then add the rice, then pour in the liquid, sugar and nutmeg. Don’t feel the need to stir – you must resist!
In all seriousness, if you did stir it is not the end of the world as we know it. It’s just really not necessary.
You then bake the pudding low and slow for 40 minutes. Come back to it, give the rice pudding it’s first stir to break up and clumps of rice grains, then return to the oven for another hour at the same temperature.
Have a nap, do the school run, get some chores done, walk the dogs, entertain the grandkids – simple!
After an hour the pudding has thickened beautifully and that tell tale skin has formed on the top (even better if you remove the lid for the last 10mins of baking) . You now decide are you a ‘skin on’ or a ‘skin in’ kind of person. If you like the skin, simply serve portions with a layer of skin on top. If you’re not a fan of rice pudding skin do what I do and stir it in.
You could remove the skin altogether, but that’s way too much faff and a waste of delicious caramelised flavours. My mum has lovely memories of scraping the skin off as a child and eating that on its own. A great example of a baked rice pudding (but with a twist on flavour) is my Easy Dairy Free Chocolate Rice Pudding.
What Dairy Free Milk Can I Use For This Rice Pudding?
I have used soya milk in this recipe but on other occasions I have used coconut milk and oat milk. It really is up to you and your preferred tastes. I’m confident nut milks would be delicious too but the flavour would veer from being traditional.
Can I Use A Different Rice to Pudding Rice?
This is a jolly good question and one I have not tested out for myself. But, with the power of the internet, I have found a pair of intrepid foodies who have done just that. Confessions of a Dietician did a non-scientific experiment on the different rice available on the market including pre-cooked rice (sorry but in a rice pudding? Yuck). You can see their results here in What type of rice to use, but to save you time, pudding rice and Arborio are the best options.
Other Delicious Free From Puddings
Easy Dairy Free Chocolate Rice Pudding Recipe
If you make it and like the recipe I would be eternally grateful if you popped back and commented leaving a star rating as this will tell search engines that this recipe is worth checking out and others will get to find it in searches.
Traditional Dairy Free Rice Pudding
- 700 ml dairy free milk I used soya milk
- 100 g pudding rice
- 50 g granulated sugar (white sugar)
- 1 tbsp butter I use Flora plant butter blocks
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- Into a large non-stick saucepan, add the the pudding rice and spoonful of dairy free butter or spread.
- Next measure the dairy free milk into a jug, add the sugar and nutmeg and give it a quick stir to combine.
- Pour the liquid into the dish over the rice.
- On a medium to high heat, begin to stir the ingredients until the 'butter' has melted and the liquid begin to boil gently. This take approx. 5 minutes.
- Next turn down the heat to low so your pudding simmers. Add a lid and set a timer for 30 minutes. Maybe pop back and stir once in a while if you doubt the non-stick qualities of your saucepan.
- After 30 minutes has passed, remove the lid and continue to gently warm on a low heat. This will reduce the rice pudding and give you a more creamy consistency.
- Serve immediately on its own or with a lovely big dollop of jam.
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