My favourite Rice Pudding in the world is one that I was served at Heatherton House, a girl's school I attended, when our family lived in England in the 1970's. Normally, school food is abysmal, and some of the food combinations at Heatherton House were rather odd, but they did do a few things really well. One being their Rice Pudding, which they baked until it achieved a wonderful golden film on top. The rice was plump and perfect, having absorbing most of the vanilla scented aromatic potion — the result being rich, buttery, sweet and oh so creamy. I tried all kinds of recipes trying to reproduce the magical pudding I recalled from my youth, and finally found it with James Barber, The Urban Peasant, who was one of Canada's first home grown and beloved TV Chefs. Sadly, he died just a few years ago, but his recipes and spirit live on.
"Cooking is the simplest way of saying I love you."
- JAMES BARBER 1923-2007
James Barber's Baked Rice Pudding
2/3 cup Arborio Rice
4 cups whole milk, or cream
6 tbsp white sugar
6 tbsp butter
Zest of 2 lemons
1 tsp cinamon
1 tbsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 250°. Mix the rice, milk (or cream), sugar, butter, vanilla and lemon together in a bowl and then pour mixture into a greased 2-quart baking dish. Bake for 2 hours, until golden brown on top. Sprinkle with some cinnamon and serve piping hot!