What do kids today think about rice pudding? The kind made by grandmothers. The kind you can stand a spoon up in. Do kids understand what rice pudding has meant to a waning generation raised on pudding that didn’t come in a plastic cup or a cardboard box? Well, that kind of pudding is probably gone forever. In fact, rice pudding is like the Hollywood neighborhood where I live: it’s changed a lot. When I first came to Hollywood it was overrun with tourists getting robbed in broad daylight. Sure tourists still get robbed, but the heist occurs in trendy pop-up restaurants with door policies so strict I’ve seen Vin Diesel waiting in line. I decided if Hollywood can evolve so can my rice pudding. Rice Pudding Tarts with Cardamon and Blood Oranges.
I make that statement about the good ole days of rice pudding with a certain air of false nostalgia. Because actually, as much as I loved homemade rice pudding, I was also a kid who loved pudding that came in a box with a bright red (all caps) JELL‑O logo. The pudding of my youth seemed to me to be the perfect food. Well-suited to any meal. Sure it only came in two colors: yellow and brown (I hesitate to even call them flavors, but technically they were vanilla and chocolate) but these two colors seemed to fit any occasion.
When I was very young these pudding boxes were prepared with milk heated on the stove. As a new cook, my mom made JELL‑O pudding as a treat. By the time the 1970’s were in full swing my mom had discovered Julia Child and JELL‑O pudding was banned in our house. However it was too late, my childhood love of the stuff was already deeply ingrained. There was nothing my mother and Julia could do to dampen my desire for either yellow or brown JELL‑O pudding.
Rice Pudding Tarts with Cardamon and Blood Oranges
Well, I still find joy in pudding (and in cooking). Only I’ve evolved beyond the stir and chill, instant JELL‑O pudding of my youth. In fact, even my tastes in rice pudding have evolved. While I still like a big bowl of old-fashioned rice pudding, these days I’m far more likely to become fascinated with a type of cooking I call “fresh takes on the familiar”. Which is why these Rice Pudding Tarts with Cardamon and Blood Oranges appeal to me so much. Just like the Hollywood neighborhood where I live these little rice pudding tarts have benefitted from a bit of gentrification. GREG
Rice Pudding Tarts with Cardamon and Blood Oranges.