Ice Cream Is The Unlikely Ingredient You Should Use For Richer Rice Pudding

Rice pudding, a comforting and timeless dessert, has long been a sweet staple in kitchens worldwide (and a great use of any leftover rice). However, if you're ready to take your rice pudding to the next level by adding a surprising twist, consider incorporating an unexpected ingredient: ice cream. This unusual ingredient can be a secret weapon for creating an exceptionally rich and decadent rice pudding. This genius hack was inspired by crème anglaise — that's fancy custard to the rest of us — because, after all, isn't ice cream frozen, whipped crème anglaise?

So, how do you make this magic happen? Start by heating milk, ice cream, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a big pot until the ice cream melts and the sugar dissolves. Add the rice, crank up the heat, then simmer gently for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid scorch marks and to create a smooth and well-incorporated dessert. Remember, the hot pudding will thicken as it cools, so aim for slightly looser than you want. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then seal it tight and refrigerate (although it can be enjoyed straight away). When ready to serve, top the mixture with a final scoop of ice cream for extra indulgence, or consider sprinkling your rice pudding with fresh fruit, nuts, or a drizzle of chocolate or salted caramel sauce

The magic of ice cream

Now, what types of ice cream work best for this unlikely collaboration? Vanilla ice cream is the obvious and classic choice, but you can experiment with flavors like chocolate, pistachio, or even mango. But start small, as you don't want the ice cream to overpower the rice pudding flavor. Furthermore, be sure to use whole milk varieties for the most decadent flavor and creamiest texture. If you're dairy-free, use dairy-free ice cream to make your rice pudding. For an extra-special treat, try using gelato instead of ice cream. Also, be sure to take your time and don't rush the process. A slower cooking process allows the rice to fully absorb the ice cream, resulting in a luscious, almost custardy dessert.

Adding ice cream adds a velvety smoothness and a depth of flavor that takes rice pudding to new indulgent heights. So, the next time you find yourself craving a comforting bowl of rice pudding, consider reaching for that pint of ice cream in the freezer –- you might discover a new favorite treat!