This is my grandmother's recipe. I never got to meet her, but I've been eating her food all my life. Apparently, she was an excellent cook, and the few recipes we still have around are testament to that. So good, in fact, that my Dad and my Uncle have had my Mom and my Aunt in the kitchen perfecting these recipes for years. Grandma wasn't the type to stick to the instructions. She'd have a basic framework and just add and add until she thought it was right. My parents spent years figuring out her rice dressing recipe. And only after showing the basic ingredients to another relative did they learn of all the additional ingredients she used to add. And, despite my Dad and Uncle conceding that it was finally right, there are still annual Thanksgiving arguments about how much nutmeg or if we got the salt right.
Making this dessert tonight got me thinking about all of my grandparents. I was only lucky enough to meet two of them, and one of those, I only got to know for a short time as a young child. My daughter, on the other hand, has all four of her grandparents. I get teary sometimes when all four of them are together with her. It is such a special thing to know all of your grandparents and to get to have them all involved in your life.
I hope you enjoy this pudding as much as we do. Like any good Grandma Ruth recipe, we all disagree about how much rice and how many raisins should be put in. If you like the custard part better than the rice part, add less rice, or vice versa. Not a huge fan of raisins? Add fewer, skip 'em, or add some chopped nuts instead. I used brown rice this time, but usually I would use white rice. Which is better? You decide. I wrote the recipe as I have it listed, but feel free to use your own judgment. After all, that's how we do it in our family!
1/3 Cup sugar
1/3 Cup raisins
2 eggs, beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat milk, add rice and butter. In a separate bowl, add sugar, salt, and raisins to beaten eggs, then slowly stir them into the hot milk mixture. Pour into a greased baking dish and set in a pan of hot water. Shake a little cinnamon on the top. Put the whole thing in the oven (pan of hot water with baking dish of pudding in it), and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until set. Serve warm or cold.