I love rice pudding. A lot. So much so that last summer, I personally devoured a small Greek village's entire supply of rice pudding. Eating it is no problem. But when it comes to making rice pudding, I must be cursed. My first attempt, several years ago, ended in rice soup. The second time, I thought I'd try a baked pudding, and so I used a recipe for brown rice pudding from New Recipes from the Moosewood Restaurant. This resulted in weird, dry, eggy rice lumps. This time around, when a hankering for rice pudding struck, I felt more confident. I was wiser in the ways of cooking and baking, and was in possession of a seemingly simple, no-fail recipe from a trusted source, Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours.
Alas, it was not to be. Rice soup again - the rice had failed to absorb "80 to 90 percent of the milk", as the recipe said it would, and despite over an hour of cooking, it never thickened, and I was left with a pot of warm milk with some rice floating around in it. I admit, the problem was probably on my end, although my only deviation from the recipe was to use sushi rice instead of arborio (but they're pretty similar, right?), and low-fat instead of whole milk. What went wrong?
Thankfully, I was able to salvage the pudding with the addition of an egg yolk and about 1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch. In the end, what I was left with was essentially vanilla pudding with rice- but hey, I'll take that. And yes, it tasted much better than it looks in the photograph- please excuse my lack of food photography skills (a temporary problem I hope!).
***9/21/07 Note: I think I may have solved the mystery- Apparently there was a misprint in the book, and cooking time should have been 50 minutes instead of 30. That could explain why the milk wasn't absorbed!