No, this isn’t the rice pudding you had at boarding school. It’s much better. My latest twist on the classic creamy pudding is making it a bit spicy with ginger, which I think adds a nice warmth.






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  • 750 ml (3 cups) milk
  • 125 ml (½ cup) thickened cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
  • 75 g (⅓ cup) demerara sugar
  • 80 g (about ⅓ cup) short-grain rice
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground mace or nutmeg
  • poached pears (see Note), to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


You will need a 2 L casserole pan for this recipe.

Preheat oven to 140°C. Place the milk, cream and vanilla bean and seeds in a 2 L casserole pan with the sugar, stirring a bit to help the sugar dissolve. It will do that later, anyway, so no need to be too fussy.

Stir in the rice, ginger and cloves, then top with the ground mace. Bake, stirring occasionally, for 1 hr 45 minutes or until cooked. The pudding may be a little runny, with the rice grains plump, yet still retaining their integrity, but it will thicken up as it cools. Cool slightly, then serve pudding warm with warmed poached pears.



• Poaching pears - place 1 L water, 220 g (1 cup) caster sugar, a split vanilla bean (or spices and flavouring of your choice) in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to simmer, then place 4 peeled, cored beurre bosc pears in pan. Place a large sheet of baking paper directly on top of the pears, cover with a lid and cook for 1 hour or until pears are tender. Set aside to cool in liquid.


Photography Alan Benson


As seen in Feast magazine, October 2013, Issue 25.