Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Rice Pudding for Babies and Toddlers; a lesson in health and safety...

I have gone through hours of research, three attempts and a burned hand for this recipe.  If someone tells me it's not healthy (look, I know) then frankly I will put my burned fingers in my ear and go "la, la, la" until you shut up!!!  Ok, it contains cream but it also only contains natural sugars.  

Seriously this was blood (well burn), sweat and (almost) tears.  My problem was threefold:
  • How do you make rice pudding for a baby when you need to stir it every few minutes (if you make it on the hob)?
  • How do you make rice pudding for a baby without making enough for the street?  I refuse to reheat rice pudding because of the bacillus cereus risk with food poisoning.  Rice is notorious for it so I always cook rice from fresh.
  • If I made a small portion in the oven (so avoiding the stirring) the oven will be on for 2-3 hours and I'll waste a fortune.
There's the thing.  Rice pudding is obvious baby fare, I mean the reason most people love it is surely it takes you back to some kind of comforting breastfed feeling?  So there must be a way, right?

So I had a brainwave.  Why not make it in the slow cooker?  I found a recipe, glowing reviews but again, you can't make it in small amounts.

Next idea; what about the microwave?  Obvious right?  First attempt despite being made in a jug covered in film; burst through and boiled over.  Attempt number two took blooming ages, burned my hand when I removed the film from the top and ended up as a stodgy mess.

So there I was, ready to give up with ice on my hand and my mum popped in.  She happened to mention a close friend of hers when she was younger used to make rice pudding by boiling the rice first in water and then adding cream and sugar.  Bingo!  By boiling the rice in water, there's no risk of boiling over or catching so no stirring required.  So I gave it a go with some adaptations of my own and this is the result.  A pretty good result too in my humble opinion.  Just beware this stuff is filling.  My son and I shared this portion and I'm not sure now whether I need tea...

I don't suggest the medjool date to be awkward, I happen to have some in my cupboard and they're lovely and soft.  I wouldn't use other dried dates if you don't have any, they tend to be a bit hard, just use some other dried fruit of your choice.

Rice Pudding for Babies and Toddlers - serves one toddler with plenty for Mum to nibble on too (shh, don't tell my diet...)  would be fine for babies on soft lumps.


20g Pudding Rice - this is often for sale in the packet pudding (ie Angel Delight, jelly etc) section rather than the rice section of supermarkets.
Single cream - approx 2 dsp
1 medjool date
1/4 tsp vanilla extract


Boil the rice in boiling water for 17 minutes or until cooked (it took 17 mins for mine to cook, I've no idea if different brands of pudding rice vary in this kind of thing because they don't give you instructions on how to boil it in water.  Just keep an eye on it.)

Drain the rice.  Mix with the date, vanilla and enough cream to make a creamy consistency.  I found it was then at the right temperature to serve immediately but do check.

So there you go, no stirring, no faffing, no sugar, no wasted energy by switching the oven on and ready immediately.  My kind of recipe!

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