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Big Joe’s Rice Pudding [Recipe]

Gellman Images
Gellman Images

You know the great thing about entertaining is that most of the time friends will bring something to your house that is a little different or a dish that you haven’t had in a while. Such was the case with my friend, Barb Salvanto from West Long Branch.

Barb is married to my friend Billy “Bud”. We call him Billy “Bud” because he works for Budweiser in Newark. Billy and Barb are great and we always have a fun time together. I call my house the Ranch, I don’t live on a ranch, never have and the house isn’t a ranch style, far from it but by saying “I’m at the Ranch.” or “Come over to the Ranch.” makes feel like I’m living on Bonanza! You know Hoss, Little Joe, Hop Sing, you expect that type of warm, hospitable feeling, when you hear, “I’m at the Ranch!”

Anyway, Barb and Billy “Bud” came over to the Ranch and she brought her rice pudding. It was very good. Barb gave a little background on her recipe she writes:

My grandmother on my mother’s side was Greek. We called her YaYa. She used to make lots of Greek goodies, like kourabiethes, diples, koulourakia, and, of course, rice pudding. I used to watch her make it, and we (my 2 brothers and parents) couldn’t wait until it was done so we could eat it. We couldn’t even wait for it to cool off. We ate it warm! We all loved YaYa’s rice pudding. Unfortunately, YaYa passed away when I was 13, but my mother continued to make rice pudding. After we all grew up & moved out of the house, my mother stopped making rice pudding. I tried the store brands, and ordered it in restaurants, but never tasted anything that came close. So I went back to my Mom & asked her for the recipe. What a disappointment to find out she never had it written down. I had to go by whatever Mom could remember. Through a series of trial and error and listening to suggestions of others, I came up with this recipe. It doesn’t have a lot of ingredients, and it’s really not hard to make, but the difficulty lies in getting the right consistency and insuring the rice doesn’t stick or burn.

Well , thanks, Barb, for sharing it with us. It was a hit at the Ranch and it’s been a fan favorite at her family gatherings. Where’s Hop Sing when you need him?


1 1⁄2 cups Carolina rice
4 cups water
1 quart whole milk
1 can evaporated milk (12 oz.) 4 eggs (5 if desired)
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (recommended but optional)

How to put it together:

Put water in large pot and salt it for flavor. Add the rice and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Allow mixture to simmer until the water is almost absorbed stirring frequently so rice does not stick to pot. Add milk.

Continue to cook until rice is just about done and mixture thickens. Stir frequently. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, evaporated milk, sugar & vanilla. Remove rice mixture from heat, and stir in the egg/sugar mixture. Return the pot to heat and cook until the mixture thickens, becoming creamy in texture and rice is done. (This will be a few more minutes.)

Turn off the heat and let cool in the pot for a while. Pudding will thicken a bit more as it cools. Place rice pudding in storage or serving containers. You must refrigerate when storing.

Serve cold or at room temperature. Garnish with cinnamon before eating. This is a large batch of rice pudding & will probably yield 10-14 servings.

Click here to get more of Big Joe's Weekend Recipes

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