Sunday, 27 April 2014

Roasted Rhubarb Rice Pudding with Orange Shortbread

Rice pudding. Staple of an old fashioned nursery menu. Arguably this rather plain pud has not received the best press. Considered somewhat dull, boring and most damningly of all, reminiscent of the pinnacle of culinary ambition (!), the school lunch. Servings of cold, gloopy rice pudding were unceremoniously slopped into your bowl from those ginormous industrial-sized metal trays, a nugget of rubbery, plastic strawberry jam perched on top. Delightful.

But the humble rice pudding has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance in recent years (see also classic puddings such as the roly-poly and treacle sponge). And it's been spruced up too. There are chocolate versions, boozy varieties and, for pure indulgence, extra, extra creamy puds. A world away from the noisy, boisterous, cabbage-smelling school canteen.

Adding to the mix is this seasonal version: Roasted Rhubarb Rice Pudding with Orange Shortbread. A thick, creamy, comforting rice pudding is served with tart, roasted rhubarb and melt in the mouth orange shortbread biscuits.

Roasted Rhubarb Rice Pudding with Orange Shortbread
(Serves four)

For the Shortbread Biscuits (makes 25-30 mini star shaped biscuits): 
250g softened butter
100g caster sugar
Zest of 1 orange
250g plain flour
125g cornflour

For the rhubarb:
200g rhubarb
1tbsp light brown sugar
Juice of 1 orange

For the Rice Pudding:
100g pudding rice
1 litre full cream milk
1 vanilla pod
1 tbsp caster sugar
50-100mls double cream (optional) 

Zest of an orange to serve

For the Shortbread Biscuits: 

1.  Preheat the oven to 170ºC/340ºF/Gas Mark 3.5 and line two baking sheets with baking parchment 
2. Beat together the butter, zest and sugar until light and fluffy then sift in the flour and cornflour gradually, mixing between each addition. Using you hands, gently bring the dough together, kneading briefly until smooth
3. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the refrigerator for thirty minutes 
4. On a floured board, roll out the dough to 5–6mm thick and cut into star shapes. 
5. Transfer the shortbreads to the prepared baking sheets lined and bake for 15–20 minutes until golden. Cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

For the rhubarb:

1. Trim and cut the rhubarb into 2.5cm/1inch chunks. Place in an oven proof dish, sprinkle over the sugar and orange juice and cover with foil. Roast for 20-30 minutes at 170ºC/340ºF/Gas Mark 3.5 or until tender, softened but still in shape

For the Rice Pudding and to serve:

1. Put the rice, milk, scored vanilla pod and sugar in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, stir together and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for twenty to thirty minutes, stirring regularly until the rice is thick and creamy. Add the cream if using for that extra luxurious taste
2. Divide the rice pudding between four serving bowls. Serve with the roasted rhubarb and any leftover juice, the biscuits and sprinkle with the zest of an orange if using

Baker's notes...
  • Make the shortbread biscuits first, then pop the rhubarb into roast while making the rice pudding
  • These are very, very crumbly traditional shortbread biscuits. You'll have plenty leftover to enjoy the following day with your morning coffee


  1. You had me at 'rhubarb' - looks utterly delicious!

  2. Sounds absolutely delicious!!! blessings, Catherine

    1. Thanks Catherine- it received top marks from my testers!

  3. Love the addition of the orange shortbread! Yum! What a great idea.

    1. The shortbread was originally planned for another recipe, then I had a eureka moment and thought to add it to the rice pudding!

  4. I love rice pudding, Jamie Oliver has tried darnded hard to bring back this winter pud and has done pretty well too. I might add I was one of those dinner ladies dishing up creamy rice pudding to hundreds of primary school children in the 80s and mine was delicious although I had to admit the jam was a bit fake tasting. I love those little star biscuits on the side too a lovely touch.

    1. Dinner ladies play such a vital role in so many respects in the education and foodie lives of all children- did you enjoy the role? Although our rice pudding we had in school doesn't sound half as tasty as yours, they made a mean roly poly pudding that we'd all want to have each day!

  5. Yes to the rice pudding revival era! I made one with brown rice and chai spices once and it was delicious but plain, proper rice pudding is still my favourite. (Also, the other day I had a rant to my husband about how I hated that rhubarb was used solely in crumbles and ginger and rhubarb jam - this is a breath of fresh air!)

    1. Haha- thanks Hannah! My mum have me a whole bunch from the garden to bring back one weekend so I too have been experimenting with all sorts of different rhubarb dishes! The BBC Good Food have a brilliant recipe for rhubarb and custard which I make each year!

  6. I've always tended to avoid rice pudding for the reasons you describe, but this sounds absolutely gorgeous! Anything with rhubarb is a winner for me.

  7. Beautifully presented!! I´m a huge fan of rice pudding and I´ve never have had it with roasted rhubarb..and/or shortbread biscuits.. sounds Amazing :-)
    Have a great week! xoxo

    1. Thank you- my presentation skills are normally rather haphazard!


Thank you very much for your comment- I appreciate every single one of them!