You just don't see rice pudding like you used to, but it's so simple and creamy good! Of course, it is easier to just open up a prepackaged container from the grocery store, but what fun is that? What I love about rice pudding is that everything you need for it is in the refrigerator and pantry already and once you know how to make a custard, you get to customize it any way you want. I made the tried-and-true raisin with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. I've seen recipes for cherry almond, chocolate and vanilla. You really are only limited by your imagination.
I like to use a short- or medium-grain rice and I always use cooked rice. You can use instant or any type you enjoy. One doesn't need a ton of baking skills, but there is a basic procedure where you temper your eggs slowly with hot milk, whisking vigorously so that you don't cook your eggs and end up with an omelet instead of custard. Once you master this technique, you can make a variety of custard desserts. Tapioca was one of my dad's favorites, so to offset diabetes I would use skim milk with Splenda. He loved it.
Make your rice according to package and keep in pot, covered with heat off. In a heat-resistant bowl, whisk the eggs, vanilla and sugar until frothy. In a small saucepan, heat the milk until you see little bubbles appear around the end. Turn off the heat and ladle the hot milk slowly into the eggs while whisking vigorously. After the second ladle, you should be able to add all the milk and then transfer it to the rice pot. Turn the heat back onto high and while stirring constantly, let the mixture thicken and begin to boil. Turn off the heat, add raisins or any other fruit. Cool completely and serve. Sprinkle cinnamon on top if desired.