It’s National School Meals Week this week and I have very fond memories of my school dinners, as I was one of those kids that loved them! Fortunately, at our junior school we had a fabulous cook. she could get a little cross with us at times when we got a bit rowdy – and as I have previously mentioned, she would bang her rolling pin on the stainless-steel counter to shut us all up – it worked!! Despite this, I liked her very much as she had a good heart and fed us well. Thinking back, I was rather food obsessed even then – loving the smell of our dinner being cooked, whilst sat in the classroom and feeling eager to get a good place in the queue, to ensure I could tuck in as soon as possible.
To recognise National School Meals Week, I thought I would pop together a rice pudding – a good old school dinner classic! I know the one we used to have a school was cooked in a huge pan, and I did think of doing it this way and also of cooking it in the slow cooker, as my Mum did. But I am a ‘rice pudding skin lover’, so of course to achieve this, it had to be done in the oven.
This creamy rice pudding recipe is a bit more indulgent than my school days version. As, I have added fresh cream and teamed it up with a delicious simple apricot compote (instead of jam) which works so well with the creaminess of the pudding!
Ingredients (4 good sized portions)
1.136L (2 pints) of full cream milk – or whichever one you prefer – full cream gives a terrific richness!
100g (4oz) *short grain rice
50g (2oz) granulated sugar
150ml (¼ pint) double cream
25g (1oz) butter – a generous amount to grease the dish!
200g (8oz) pack of ready to eat *dried apricots
1 desert spoon of sugar – optional, depending how sweet you like things
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6/Fan 180C.
Put the apricots in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak for ½ hour.
Butter a large deep ovenproof dish (the tin I used measures 9 by 7½ inches and 2inch deep.)
Pop the rice and sugar into the buttered tin. Pour in the milk and give it a good stir. Cover the dish with foil and pop in the oven for 2 hours – checking it every 30 minutes.
Whilst the rice pudding is cooking. Drain the apricots. Pop in a pan, add the sugar and just enough boiling water to cover the apricots. Bring to the boil and then allow to simmer for about 20 minutes until the apricots are nice and soft. Remove the pan from the heat. Allow to slightly cool and blend with either a stick blender or liquidiser until smooth – if slightly thick you can add a drop of boiled water. Check the apricots for sweetness. If serving at the table transfer into a serving dish – serve either at room temp or chill. I like the contrast of the hot pudding and cold compote, but it’s your preference.
Every 30 minutes or so, remove the rice pudding from the oven and keep giving it a little stir. After 1½ hours take it out of the oven and gently stir in the cream. Leave the foil off and pop back in the oven for half an hour.
Remove rice pudding from the oven. Check it’s OK for sweetness for you. Also, if you feel it’s a little thick, you can always add a bit more milk.
There we go, all done and ready to enjoy. Take it to the table and tuck in!!
I do think, with the addition of cream and serving it up with delicious apricot compote, this simple, classic pudding ‘ups it’s game’ and wouldn’t be out of place for an evening dinner with friends and family!
Thanks for checking out this recipe, hope you like it! Do give me a shout if you ‘need’ me to recreate any other school days favourites!
P.S. Any left-over compote will work wonders with a few spoonfuls of Greek yoghurt.
*I have been caught out on a few occasions with rice. As although naturally gluten free, it can sometimes get contaminated with gluten during the manufacturing process. Just check to ensure no gluten containing ingredients or ‘may contain’ or ‘not suitable’ warnings on the pack. If in doubt leave it out!