Is it a dessert or a healthy breakfast treat? Depends on the time of day. This pudding brims with brown rice and blueberries, held together by creamy custard scented with vanilla and cardamom. Bake it on a coolish summer day, then eat it cold for breakfast, brunch, or to top off a casual meal.
Did I mention healthy? The brown rice is low on the glycemic index and full of whole-grain nutrition, fiber, and some protein. Blueberries are one of the superfoods, full of anti-oxidants. The custard provides more protein and calcium with eggs and milk. And although it contains enough sugar to make it a treat, that's less than half the sugar in a jitter-inducing doughnut breakfast ... and one-sixth the fat.
Active time: 15 minutes, starting with cooked rice. Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes plus cooling. Serves 6 for breakfast, 8 for dessert.
4 cups cooked long-grain brown rice
2 cups blueberries (one pint)
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
shortening or butter for the baking dish
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Set a 8-cup or 1.9-liter baking dish in another baking dish or roaster that can hold it (see picture below). Fill the larger dish with water up to about 2/3rds the height of the smaller dish to make a water bath. Put the large dish in the oven and grease the smaller one, which will hold the pudding.
- Put brown rice and blueberries in the smaller baking dish, mix, and level.
- Whisk remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and pour over rice mixture.
- Carefully put smaller dish in the water bath. Bake for 60 minutes, until pudding puffs and jiggles but is not firm. Carefully remove both dishes from oven and let sit for 30 minutes so water can cool and pudding finish baking.
- Remove smaller dish and refrigerate until well chilled. Serve cold. Keeps refrigerated for up to four days.
- I say eat chilled, but often am tempted to have a serving while it's still warm. The custard won't have set yet so it will flow away from the remaining servings.
- What's all this fuss about the water bath? It lets the top of the custard get hotter while bottom part reaches an even 212°F (water's boiling point and thus maximum temperature). This gives the custard its creamy texture.
- For easier, safer lifting, use a turkey baster to suck some of the water out the water bath before taking it out of the oven. This is the answer to the question: why have a turkey baster if you don't roast turkeys?