Raisin Rice Pudding – Vintage Recipes Still Work

From Desserts Men Like, The Tested Recipe Institute,  from the year 1956. This looked interesting, and Kirk likes rice pudding. It also piqued my interest because it is more a custard than a heavy rice pudding.

I had not made rice pudding using a double boiler method, but why not? So I got out my tools. This recipe can also be easily adapted to using sucralose if you want it added sugar-free. It won’t change it all.

The first time I made the recipe it seemed OK, but then when we went to eat it I found the pudding had split into two layers. Dense rice on the bottom and an egg custard on top. The custard tasted great, enough that I made it a second time to see if I could get it right.

I thought back how when I was child, how did my Mom make depression era egg custard and rice puddings? I knew she would stir them every 5 minutes for the first bit of baking time, to keep the ingredients suspended. I also felt the rice needed a bit more supervised cooking, and I put a lid on the double boiler. This helped a lot, and the rice was well cooked. I added in the raisins and let them sit covered for 5 minutes as well.

My Mom treated custard days as a chance to just putter in the kitchen – and staying warm as often the kitchen was the warmest room in the house. She was a War Baby, but generational wise I always felt my Mom cooked like the Great Depression was going to come back at any moment. She learned to cook from the “house keeper” her Mom had, an older lady who worked due to her circumstances. My own Grandmother, couldn’t even boil water successfully.

Making this pudding really brought back so many memories of her. She has been gone over 17 years now, but while I was cooking this, for a second I felt like she was beside me. I was too impatient to make puddings and custard when I was a child and a teen. Same with bread. As an adult, as I have aged I find I have the patience for it.

The first version:

The butter floated to the top, so it had a crispy topping of cold butter. Not exactly appetizing. The extended stirring while it baked really helped incorporate it into the pudding.

Raisin Rice Pudding Recipe


  • ½ cup long-grain white rice
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup raisins (golden or regular)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt


Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly oil a 1½ quart baking dish (time for your finest vintage Pyrex or Oven King here).

Place a double boiler on your burner, with a couple inches water in the bottom. Turn to medium to let heat up, placing the double boiler pot on top. You want it preheated.

Add the rice to a mesh strainer and rinse till the water is clear. Add to the double boiler pot with 2 cups of the milk. Let cook for 20 minutes, stirring often. Lower the burner to maintain a simmer. I kept a lid on it to keep the rice simmering, stirring every few minutes.

Turn off the burner and add in the butter and raisins, stirring until the butter has fully melted. Let sit for 5 minutes covered.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt together. Add the remaining 2 cups milk.

Take the double boiler pot and place on a kitchen towel. Whisking while you add it, add in the egg mixture to the milk. Whisk well to mix it up.

Scrape into the prepared dish.

Bake for 5 minutes, stir, then another 5 minutes and stir again. If you have patience, stir it at the 15-minute point as well. Bake for a total of 30-35 minutes. The top should be mostly set when you pull it out.

Let cool on the counter, then chill for at least 3 to 4 hours to serve cold.

Finished rice pudding dish in vintage crockery