April is the cruellest month, breeding
A day of storms -- outwardly and inward.
This morning, the gardener and I huddled under the porch as the rain pelted down. The daisies will live another day, because the lawn mower couldn't eat its way through the long, sodden grass. It's spring to the eyes, but not to the chilled skin.
After a week of sunny days and tempers, my teenage daughter had a miserable bout of Texas homesickness -- and a storm of weeping which could not be appeased. I made homemade chicken soup for my emotional invalid, and sent her early to bed.
Sigmund feels tired and blue, too. But there is butterscotch rice pudding bubbling away in the oven, and we will eat a comforting bowlful with some early raspberries.
Like many good things, this recipe comes from my mother -- who clipped it out of the newspaper and mailed it to me. It can also be found in Judy Walker's book, Cooking Up a Storm: Recipes Lost and Found from the Times-Picayune of New Orleans.
File it under comfort food:
Butterscotch Rice Pudding
12 oz water
pinch of salt
5 1/2 oz short-grain or pudding rice
24 oz milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 oz unsalted butter
8 oz heavy or double cream
5 1/2 oz firmly packed dark brown sugar
Grease a 2 quart ovenproof (Corningware or similar) dish.
In a saucepan with a lid, bring the water to a boil, and then add the rice and pinch of salt. Reduce to the heat to low, then cover and cook for 20 minutes (or until all of the water is absorbed). Keep an eye on it, because it may not need the entire 20 minutes. After the rice has cooked, stir in the milk and heat for approximately 5-10 minutes -- just until the milk steams. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
Preheat the oven to 350F/175 C.
In another saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat -- and then add the cream and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour this cream mixture into the prepared rice. Stir well and spoon into the prepared dish.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the pudding is thick and has a golden crust. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving. It is best hot -- but also delicious when cold, if you like that sort of dense gloopiness.
(and because rice pudding isn't very photogenic)