Riz Au Lait

November  4, 2012
3 Ratings
  • Serves 6-8
Author Notes

To read the name of this recipe you'd think it was all about the's not. This dish is all about vanilla and cream -- the rice is just there to act as an efficient delivery mechanism for these two stars. I was never a fan of rice pudding as a kid, but fell in love with the dish while living in France, where they take it quite seriously. This is one of those culinary indulgences that should probably warrant its own question at the time of your annual physical: Smoke? "No." Drink? "Why yes, I'd love one, thanks." Riz Au Lait? "I eat it only once a year, I promise." (Fingers cleverly crossed behind my back, of course)

The dish is best served warm from the pot, but if your cooking plans don't allow for that and you end up refrigerating the pudding before eating it, I've included an optional step that calls for folding in a lightly sweetened, vanilla Chantilly just before serving. As riz au lait tightens considerably when chilled, this step of adding the whipped cream helps to lighten the texture and improve the mouth feel of the treat. Enjoy. —Oui, Chef

Test Kitchen Notes

In Victorian literature – Charles Dickens, the Bronte sisters, and so on – rice pudding is often held in contempt; a lowly, overly familiar food served to small children, usually in the company of boiled mutton. Oui, Chef’s classic Riz au Lait is the antithesis of such fare. It's a creamy, comforting concoction that is simply splendid, as well as splendidly simple. The silkiness from the chubby, starchy grains of Arborio rice and the delicate flavor from the flecks of vanilla bean send this dessert right over the top, both eaten straight from the stove and a day later. The vanilla-scented whipped cream? We thought it wasn’t necessary, but you really can’t have too much of a good thing, can you? —wssmom

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup short grain rice such as Arborio
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 2/3 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 2 vanilla beans, halved, split lengthwise and scraped of their seeds
  • 1 teaspoon super-fine sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (optional)
  1. Place the rice in a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Stir the rice a few times to knock any starch loose, then pour the rice through a strainer, run under warm water to rinse, and place back in the pan. Add 1 cup of the cream, the 2 cups of milk and the vanilla seeds and pods. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the 1/4 cup sugar, stir and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Remove the vanilla pods before serving.
  2. If serving immediately, pull from the heat, spoon into small cups or bowls and enjoy. If not serving right away, pour into a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool for a half hour or so before placing in the fridge to chill.
  3. If you've chilled the pudding before serving and would like to take the optional step of incorporating the vanilla scented Chantilly, remove it from the fridge and let it come to room temperature. When the pudding is ready, whip the additional 2/3 cup cream with 1 teaspoon superfine sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or vanilla extract), to soft peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the pudding before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • cheese1227
  • mrslarkin
  • aargersi
  • Bevi
  • fiveandspice
I am a father of five, who recently completed a two year professional hiatus during which I indulged my long held passion for cooking by moving to France to study the culinary arts and immerse myself in all things French. I earned “Le Grande Diplome” from Le Cordon Bleu, studied also at The Ritz Escoffier and Lenotre cooking schools, and completed the course offerings of the Bordeaux L’Ecole du Vin. About six months ago started "Oui, Chef", which is a food blog that exists as an extension of my efforts to teach my children a few things about cooking, and how our food choices over time effect not only our own health, but that of our local food communities and our planet at large. By sharing some of our cooking experiences through the blog, I hope to inspire other families to start spending more time together in the kitchen, cooking healthy meals as a family, passing on established familial food traditions, and perhaps starting some new ones.

12 Reviews

Johnny R. November 11, 2012
I totally bastardized this recipe, but it was delicious! I didn't have all the ingredients, so I made it with some low fat egg nog, some almond milk, and some half and half...sometimes when something sounds wonderful you have to improvise with what's on hand :). Thanks for the fantastic recipe, next time I'll make it with the correct ingredients, and I'm sure it will be even better!
Oui, C. November 11, 2012 they say "necessity is the mother of invention". Glad to hear that you didn't let a little ingredient scarcity get between you and your rice pudding. Well done!
cheese1227 November 9, 2012
Testing this right now. Ingredient list says 1/4 cup sugar, method says "add 1 cup sugar".
Oui, C. November 9, 2012
The ingredient list is correct, 1/4 cup of sugar. I'll correct the recipe right now, thanks for the heads-up. - S
mrslarkin November 5, 2012
Perfect comfort food. Wishing I had a bowlful of this right now, as I'm sitting in my dark house surrounded by candlelight.
Oui, C. November 6, 2012
Still no power....holy smokes. Wish I could send you some, warm from the stove. Hope life returns to normal soon.
aargersi November 5, 2012
This sounds fantastic and comforting and yum!
Oui, C. November 6, 2012
Merci beaucoup, aargersi.
Bevi November 5, 2012
Yum! About how many ounces is each serving?
Oui, C. November 6, 2012
About 6 ounces sounds right.
fiveandspice November 5, 2012
Always fold in whipped cream before serving! :) Love this.
Oui, C. November 6, 2012
I apply that rule to almost everything I eat . ;-)