Who's old enough to remember the Women's Weekly Cookery Club? The one where you sent away and they sent you a box, with dividers, then each month a new set of recipe cards would arrive in the mail? I think it was the precursor to the Women's Weekly cookbooks, and as soon as I started working I subscribed and collected those recipe cards in the neat off-white box.
I still have them and I still use them, quite often. They're over 30 years old now, and quite tattered. But those favourite recipes are much loved and guarded. One of them is the Baked Rice Custard. It was something my mother made weekly during winter as we were growing up, and we'd have it with ice-cream or a drizzle of cream when it was hot, then the next night it would be with hot custard over the top.
My brother and I would beg to be allowed to have the "skin" off the top. Mum sprinkled it with nutmeg and sugar and it was so good - worth fighting with a brother over!
Then, when we were first married I would make creamed rice or baked rice custard every week, it was one of Wayne's desserts. These days they are a treat, we don't eat dessert very often. But back then he had dessert every night, without fail. Both puddings are a great way to use up milk that is about to go off or excess milk if you have it.
Here's my easy recipe for baked rice custard - it's good hot or cold!
Baked Rice Custard
1/4 cup rice
2 cups boiling water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2-1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sultanas
Cook the rice in the boiling water, about 10 minutes. Drain well. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla, add rice and sultanas and stir to combine. Add milk and stir again. making sure rice and sultanas are evenly distributed. Pour into a shallow oven-proof dish. Stand in a baking dish and fill with water to about halfway up the side of the pudding dish. Bake in a moderate oven for 30 minutes, reduce the heat to moderately slow and continue to cook for a further 30 - 40 minutes or until custard has set.
Depending on appetites and generosity when serving, this will give you 6 - 8 serves. It keeps for up to three days covered in the fridge too. I use a 1 litre enamel pie dish to make this pudding, just make sure to butter it well so the rice and custard don't stick to the bottom and sides.
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