Rosemary and Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding

by autumn on October 10, 2010

Rice pudding was the first thing I learned to cook. Probably not the first thing I ever cooked, but the first thing I really knew as a cook.

For an entire winter, my grandma stayed with us and we made rice pudding. A lot of rice pudding. She and I started out cooking from her handwritten recipe. It’s a point of pride that I learned to temper eggs before I mastered long division.

I think my grandma pretended to have lost the recipe–just the sort of wiley thing that she would do. We made it without; I knew the ritual of rice pudding without realizing it. This early moment shaped who I am in the kitchen. I would rather know rice pudding, than follow a recipe for it.

That said, each time I make rice pudding it’s different. It’s my go-to way of using up cooked rice and whatever type of milk happens to hanging out in my fridge. Since making rosemary simple syrup this summer, I’ve been really into using rosemary in sweet applications. Hence, this galette.  I also just tracked down some Nielsen-Massey Vanilla bean paste that I am absolutely enamored with. If you are a baking nerd like this girl, you’ll be in love.

Trust me on this flavor combination. It’s strange and comforting, a pairing that I strive for in food and life.

Rosemary and Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding
Because this pudding is thickened with cornstarch instead of eggs, it can easily be made vegan by using a non-dairy milk. I used cooked brown jasmine rice, which worked really well, but any leftover cooked rice will do. Finally, to infuse the rosemary, I used a tea filter. You could also use cheesecloth or a coffee filter.

2 1/2 cups whole milk, plus a bit more to mix with the cornstarch
1 1/3 cups cooked brown jasmine rice
1/2 cup sugar
4 sprigs of rosemary, placed in a tea filter for infusing
3 T cornstarch mixed with enough cold milk to make it pourable
1 t vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract (make sure it’s gluten-free)

1. Combine the rice, sugar, rosemary, and 2 1/2 cups milk in a saucepan over med-low heat. Stir frequently to prevent burning.
2. When it begins to boil (not a full rolling boil here, a gentle boil) remove from heat and let steep for about 15 minutes.
3. Remove the rosemary packet and bring the mixture to a gentle boil again, over med-low heat.
4. Stirring constantly, add the cornstarch milk mixture to thicken.
5. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla

More Rice Pudding:

Brown Rice Pudding from Joy the Baker
Arroz con Leche from Smitten Kitchen
Sweet Rice Pudding from Gluten-free Girl

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Matt Nielsen October 11, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Hello Autumn! I just wanted to write a quick thank you for mentioning us as your favorite vanilla. Thank you! And what a great and creative flavor combination. I love rosemary and, of course, vanilla. Can’t wait to try this one! Thank you!

Best Regards,
Matt Nielsen
Nielsen-Massey Vanillas


2 autumn October 15, 2010 at 9:55 am

Thanks so much, Matt. I have three different bottles of your vanillas, so am definitely a fan. The next thing that I try will be that chocolate extract. Thanks again.


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