Rice pudding is a traditional British dish. The earliest versions date back to the Tudor period, when it was known as whitepot. For many years it was considered a nursery food, a comforting classic for young children. Although I do love a baked rice pudding, there is an easier way to make it - a slow cooker. It gives a very creamy consistency, and infuses the flavour into the milk better than a hob/oven method. This is a vanilla version, but I've given instructions at the end to turn it into a lemon-infused pudding. It is absolutely lovely.
Ingredients 150g short-grain rice (I used Arborio risotto rice, but any short-grain variety will do)
3 tbsp caster sugar or sugar substitute (volume according to instructions on how to substitute for the real thing)
2 tbsp cornflour
1.2 litres milk (I used semi-skimmed, but whole milk is preferable)
1/2 vanilla pod
2 tsp vanilla extract
Using butter, throughly grease the inside of your slow cooker.
Whisk together the caster sugar, cornflour, and milk in large bowl and then pour into the slow cooker. You can see form the pictures that I whisked in the slow cooker. I wouldn't recommend this, because the butter on the bottom was absorbed by the cornflour and so the rice pudding stuck more than it would have. Also, if you are using a metal whisk there's a risk that you could scratch the slow cooker.
Weigh out the rice, add it and a pinch of salt to the slow cooker, and mix well.
Cut the vanilla pod in half length-wise and scrape out the seeds. Add them, with the vanilla essence, to the pot.
Cook for 15 minutes on high and mix well.
Cook for another 15 minutes on high and mix again.
Cook for an hour, still on high, or until thick and creamy.
Serve with chopped pistachios, or a splodge of jam, and (if you like) a drizzle of double cream.
If you want to turn it into a lemony rice pudding, add the grated zest of a lemon at the stage that you would add the vanilla.