What a treat rice pudding is. It’s one of those desserts that you never spend much time thinking about until something triggers a memory. Perhaps a conversation about the past, or a phone call with your mother. Then you suddenly find yourself desperately wanting some. As far as I am aware, you can’t at present get vegan rice pudding in a can, which does decrease your odds somewhat of satisfying your Id immediately. You can, however make a truly magnificent rice pudding on the stove top, without using the oven. This vegan rice pudding with caramelised pears is a perfect example of that. You can, if you choose, forgo the pears and just make the rice pudding. It is perfectly delicious without them, but the caramelised pears add an extra dimension that you’ll be glad you included.
You can get pudding rice in any supermarket, usually next to the risotto rice in 500g bags. I get a large bag of it from my local Morrison’s that I keep in my cupboard for whenever I get a hankering for rice pudding. I do the same with tapioca, which is my wife’s favourite. I consider the ground cinnamon and nutmeg essential to this recipe, and I would suggest that you keep a steady supply of them in your home if you don’t already. I make sure they never run out because I use them in a lot of dishes, both savoury and sweet.
Tip: Though I didn’t include it in this rice pudding recipe, the fine grated zest of a lemon is also a wonderful addition.
For other rice desserts, try my Vegan Blackberry Risotto.
Vegan Rice Pudding with Caramelised Pears
Prep time: 5-10 minutes. Cooking time: about 45 minutes
For the Rice Pudding:
60g / 3oz vegan butter
300g / 11oz pudding rice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
2 litres / 3 ½ pints plant milk
250g / 9 oz golden caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
200ml / 7 fl oz vegan cream
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For the Pears:
2 large conference pears
30g / 1 oz vegan butter
1 tbsp oil
5 tbsp golden syrup
50ml / 2 fl oz water
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
First you want to make the rice pudding. Do this by heating the vegan butter in a large saucepan, until it is hot but not burning. Stir in the rice and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring almost constantly to make sure it doesn’t stick. Now add the cinnamon and nutmeg and cook for another 2 minutes.
Pour in the plant milk, then add the sugar and vanilla extract. Now bring to the boil. Once it is bubbling, reduce the heat right down and simmer, so that it is only bubbling very gently, for 35-40 minutes. Stir the dish every 10 minutes or so to prevent sticking.
Once this time has passed, pour in the vegan cream and mix through. Let it come back up to temperature and bubble for another 2 minutes, then turn off the heat. The rice pudding will thicken while you cook the pears.
To cook the pears, remove the stalks then slice each pear in half and cut out the core (I cut out a little triangle around the core to do this). Turn the pear halves face down and slice them lengthways into about 6 pieces, so that you’ve got about 24 slices at the end.
Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and then fry the pears, on a medium heat, for 10-15 minutes, turning each slice over to brown both sides. Once they are done, pour in the golden syrup and the water and sprinkle on the cinnamon. Cook on quite a high heat for another 2 minutes to reduce the liquid to a small amount of syrup.
Serve the rice pudding with some of the caramelised pears on top and then drizzle over a little more golden syrup.