Welcome to March’s Guest Recipe! This is a recipe to fight over, or so says my co-worker pal, JoAnne. Slow cooked rice pudding with a meringue topping was completely attacked when brought to the dinner table. People would fight over it, they would hide it for later, some would even deny that it was made in the first place, so as to eat it in secret all to themselves, and under no circumstances were there any leftovers of this dessert….ever.
“Nordis Evjen left South Dakota and came to Oregon in 1942. She was hired to work in a factory and became one of the women referred to as Rosie The Riveter. She was successful at her job and was promoted to Supervisor. She met her soon to be husband, Dale, here in Oregon while he was in the Navy. They moved to Nebraska and then back to Oregon for good. The family grew and at this time there are total of 30 of us…..all fighting for rice pudding. Unfortunately, both Dale and Nordis have passed.
This recipe is a family favorite. Nordis received the recipe from her Aunt Irene when Irene immigrated from Norway to the states. We aren’t sure the recipe is Norwegian, but we like to say it came from the old country. It was a favorite at all church fundraisers and sold quite well.” -JoAnne VanHorn
This recipe is not for the impatient cook. It takes some quality time sitting next to the stove, making sure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, but it is totally worth it. Let’s get started!
Pour one quart of whole milk into a double-boiler. I made sure to have plenty of water in the bottom, so it didn’t dry up while cooking for an hour and 45 minutes. Once I got the milk about ready to boil, I poured in 1/2 cup of white rice and mixed. I turned down the burner to a halfway point between low and medium and let it start the slow and steady cook off.
And then I did laundry.
And I stirred it.
And I did more laundry.
And stirred it some more.
Then my laundry was all done and the rice was just about ready for the eggs. I know the recipe said that it takes about an hour and a half, but my rice took an hour and 45 minutes. I think it honestly depends on the temperature of your stove top. I feel that mine could have been a smidge higher.
I separated 3 eggs, putting the yolks in one bowl and the egg whites in another. (Eggs separate easier when they are cold.) Once I got them in their separate bowls, I made sure to keep the egg whites out on the counter, because room temperature egg whites are ideal for making meringue.
I whipped up the egg yolks with 1/2 cup of white sugar and went back to tending the rice. At this point, it dawned on me the significance of what JoAnne had told me the day before. She commented that her family would argue that it was ‘too runny’ or ‘too thick’ and not like what Nordis used to make. This is one of those ‘eyeball’ moments. You know….when the cook would just say, “I don’t know….I would just eyeball it and know that it was ready.” Thanks a lot Grandmas, Moms and Aunties out there….we currently don’t have a chart that displays ‘eyeball’.
So I guessed. And right when the rice wasn’t too runny or too thick, I added the yolk mixture and stirred it up. When I had first started making the rice, I thought to myself that 1/2 cup of rice wasn’t going to amount to much, but once I added the eggs and sugar, I realized that I would have to choose a bigger serving dish. I turned up the heat to almost medium and let it thicken up for about 10 more minutes. Once it was at its perfect consistency, I added 2 tbsp butter and 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp vanilla and took it off the stove.
In the meantime, I buttered up a dish in preparation for the rice pudding and I turned on the egg whites in my standing blender and let it get to the point where it was making soft peaks. That’s when I added the 6 tbsp of sugar and whipped it until stiff peaks formed. I poured the rice pudding mixture into the casserole and topped it with the meringue. It was BEAUTIFUL.
The recipe called for me to put this in a ‘slow oven’. Huh? So, I did what any hot-blooded American would do and I looked up similar recipes on the internet. I figured that ‘slow’ meant ‘350 degrees’ and so it was. In went the pudding at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes, until it was all golden on top.
When it came out it smelled like comfort and sweetness and home. It tasted like holidays and vanilla creaminess and fluffy clouds of deliciousness. It was so good, in fact, that I ate an entire serving, even though I am slightly lactose intolerant. The pain was totally worth it.
Delicate Rice (Swedish Rice Pudding)
- 1 qt. whole milk
- 1/2 c. white rice
- 1/2 c. sugar, plus 6 tbsp. sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- Boil 1 qt milk and 1/2 cup rice slowly in a double-boiler for about 1 1/2 hours, stir occasionally.
- Beat yolk of 3 eggs with 1/2 cup sugar.
- Stir yolk mixture into rice mixture (once rice has absorbed milk and thickened), bringing to a boil…just enough to thicken.
- Add 2 tbsp butter, 1/2 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp vanilla. Stir.
- Pour into buttered casserole.
- Whip 3 egg whites into soft peaks, add 6 tbsp sugar and beat stiffly until high peaks form.
- Spread meringue on rice pudding mixture in casserole and place in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until gold brown.