Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post
Rice pudding is one of those decadent-tasting desserts that lend themselves easily to a healthful upgrade. Using short-grain brown rice helps thicken a reduced-fat-milk base beautifully while giving the pudding a nutty taste and optimal nutrition. Pumpkin puree adds even more creaminess and, with the addition of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, turns this dessert into a delightful flavor mash-up of rice pudding and pumpkin pie.
2 cups water
1 cup short-grain brown rice
3 cups low-fat milk (2 percent)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Splash of heavy cream or milk, or whipped cream, for serving (optional)
Bring the water to a boil in a heavy, ovenproof pot, such as a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Stir in the rice; reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 40 to 45 minutes, until the rice is al dente.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Add the milk, pumpkin, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt to the pot with the rice, and stir well to incorporate. Cover and transfer to the oven; bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by about one-third and the pudding is foamy, bubbling and slightly soupy. Uncover and stir well. The rice will continue to absorb the liquid.
Transfer to a large bowl or divide among individual cups. (The pudding will thicken as it cools.) Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 4 days.
Serve with a splash of cream or milk, or a dollop of whipped cream if desired, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Makes 8 Servings
Per serving: Calories 210; Total Fat 3g; (Sat Fat 1g); Protein 5g; Carb 45g; Fiber 3g; Cholesterol 5mg; Sodium 120mg; Total Sugar 24g (including 18 g added sugar)