Friday, November 20, 2009

Pumpkin Rizogalo

Pumpkin pie is certainly an important part of an American Thanksgiving ... it's the day's quintessential dessert and frankly, Thanksgiving just doesn't feel right without this sweet, spice-laced pie gracing our humble table.

But for those that aren't so enthusiastic about traditional pumpkin pie, there are some great alternatives. Pumpkin and Coconut Milk Panna Cotta anyone? Or how about this Pumpkin Rizogalo (that's Greek for rice pudding)?

For me, rizogalo is one of those food items that brings back a flood of memories and emotions. One of my late Giagia's dessert specialties was her rizogalo and it was quite often that we would return home from school to the smell of rice simmered in milk, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg wafting up the stairs from her apartment to our own. It was a smell that made me feel warm and simply secure inside. Giagia would use a whole gallon of milk to make enough of her rizogalo to satisfy us all and we all adored it.

She gave me her recipe some time ago once her cooking came to a halt and she could no longer move around her kitchen the way she always had. It's a simple recipe of just rice, milk, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. To this day, it is my favorite rice pudding recipe and I neither need nor want any other to replace it. But in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I tried my hand at this festive version last weekend with the hope of honoring the holiday, the season and, more importantly, the memory of my Giagia all in one sweet bite.

So, if you enjoy rice pudding and you are looking to add some more pumpkin to your holiday table, look no further ... here is my recipe for Pumpkin Rizogalo.

Pumpkin Rizogalo (Rice Pudding)
Makes about 10 ramekins

6 to 7 cups milk
1 1/4 cups rice
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, either fresh or canned
pinch of salt
dash of grated nutmeg
dash of ground cinnamon
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large saucepan, bring the 6 cups of milk, rice, sugar and salt to a simmer. Stir in 1 1/4 cups of the pumpkin, the nutmeg and cinnamon and cook mixture until the rice is quite soft and cooked through, stirring often.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the vanilla and remaining pumpkin in a medium bowl. Remove the saucepan from the burner and slowly whisk some of the rice mixture into the egg yolk mixture so as to temper it. Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat for a few minutes more. (Add additional cup of milk as necessary during cooking.)

Spoon into ramekins or serving dishes and place plastic wrap directly on surface of pudding (so as to prevent it from forming a "skin"). Serve warm or at room temperature.


Banana Wonder said...

Nice! Pumpkin and rice pudding together. I'm gonnna have to try this. Thanks!

Yannis Mameletzis said...

who are you and where have you been all my life! amazing blog. This recipe looks stunning.

Yannis Mameletzis said...

Check this out...:)

It's the promo from our show, The Cooking Odyssey.

Ivy said...

Maria this is a great idea to combine pumpkin with rizogalo.

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

Maria, I couldn't agree more with you! Rizogalo is def the best easiest of recipes that really brings back memories of childhood. I love the addition of pumpkin here...very festive and perfect for Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

I was actually JUST thinking that I should make a pumpkin rice pudding, Maria! This looks so great! Nice and creamy.

Peter M said...

Maria, this is a cool idea, marrying pumpkin with rizogalo. Coconut milk is the added bonus too!

What kind of rice did you use?

Maria said...

Thank you all!

Peter, my Giagia always used the Carolina brand of long grain rice which she bought only with the intention of using in her rice pudding. If I know beforehand that I am making rice pudding I too buy the same rice, otherwise if I'm making it on a whim, I use the Uncle Ben's long grain stowed in the pantry. I see lots of recipes calling for medium-grain or even arborio in rice puddings, but I go by what my Giagia did for years and years.

Shopaholic said...

Very creative idea! Looks very tempting! Janet @Gourmet Traveller 88

Unknown said...

This looks like a very good twist to a traditional recipe. I feel like having rice pudding when the cold weather sets in. It hasn't set in yet.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I'm so glad you stopped by my blog and gave me the opportunity to find yours. I love this rice pudding idea with the seasonal use of pumpkin. I'm looking forward to exploring the rest of your recipes.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

This recipe is a wonderful tribute and so seasonally delightful.

Muneeba said...

I'm craving this rice pudding ... seriously having serious thoughts about diving into my monitor. So SO GOOD!