PESHWARI PUDDING

Mr. Spring takes rice pudding for a joy ride. 

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Peshwari pudding is a family recipe in the truest sense that it's been shaped by many hands. As a child I often sat in scratchy knitted pullovers in my Grandma's kitchen on winter afternoons tucking into a steaming bowl of her original rice pudding with cinnamon and plump raisins. My mom too often made a version of her mother's dish (she sprinkled brown sugar on top) and in time, I came up with my own (secret ingredient: nutmeg). All in all, I can't imagine how many chilly, dreary days across the generations have been salved by this ultimate comfort food.

A few years ago Nick (aka Mr. Spring) devised his own interpretation of my family classic and I have to admit, it's become the gold standard. With the addition of  cashews, sultanas and coconut to the simpler rice puddings of my childhood, he's given rise to a new treat that we've dubbed Peshwari pud after the comparably jazzy naan bread he can't enjoy a curry without.

In his own words, Nick likes to make and eat Peshwari pud because "it's like a dessert treat that's not too sweet so you can eat it all the time" and for the "simplicity of preparation" that "relies on vague proportion rather than specific measuring" which "fits [his] culinary style… Plus it's got coconut and cashews, so how can you go wrong?"

You can't. So let's get to it. (Also, can we pause to appreciate… how photogenic are this man's hands?)

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Peshwari Pudding Recipe

Ingredients:

1 mug of long grain plain white rice* 3-4 mugs of milk ** a handful of raisins/sultanas a handful of unsalted cashews*** a handful of desiccated (shredded) coconut a sprinkling of cinnamon

* Nick's used jasmine in a pinch, but doesn't recommend it. ** You can substitute some of this milk for water if you're running low. *** Nick's rinsed off salted cashews in a pinch, and would recommend it.

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Directions:

1. Pour all the ingredients into an oven proof casserole dish.

2. Stir.

3. Pop on the lid or aluminium foil if your dish doesn't have one.

4. Bake in a preheated oven at about 240C for 20 minutes. Check on it, give it a stir, then put it in for another 10 and you'll be in the ballpark of it being ready. If all the milk isn't absorbed or it's not soft enough, give it another 10 minutes after that.

4. Serve piping hot with some cold milk poured over top to balance the temperature. My ma to add a sprinkling of brown sugar to her bowl and my mother-in-law likes hers with a drizzle of cream. Nick's also been known to put a dollop of Greek yogurt on his, but he'll put Greek yogurt on anything.

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Catherine Roberts