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This humble dessert comes from the Greek words “rizi” (rice) and “gala” (milk). It’s a comforting and simple dish with a velvety, custard-like texture. It’s naturally gluten free (can be made lactose free by using almond or soy milk)⁣

Like a risotto, it takes quite a bit of stirring for the pudding to thicken but we can assure you the end result is worth it.⁣

This is Zoy’s mother’s recipe. She would make it often when Zoy and his siblings were kids. It was a cheap alternative for dessert as it requires little ingredients and it was something the whole family could enjoy. His dad Theo even used to sing a silly tune before he’d dig in with just the words “rice custard, rice custard”… Zoy’s mother still makes this recipe today, and I’m sure Zoy’s dad still hums that silly tune...⁣


Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

  • 1/2 cup arborio rice (or other short-grain rice, unrinsed)⁣

  • Approx 5 cups milk (1 litre)⁣

  • 1 large piece of orange rind⁣

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar (or more to your liking)⁣

  • Teaspoon of vanilla extract (or beans from one pod)⁣

  • Teaspoon brandy, optional⁣

  • Cinnamon, for dusting⁣


  • Place the rice in a saucepan with 1 cup of milk along with the orange rind and stir over medium-low heat until the milk is absorbed. 

  • Continue adding milk one cup at a time, letting it absorb, stirring constantly so that mixture doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom of the saucepan. The mixture will be ready when the rice is cooked and soft (roughly 30-45 mins).

  • Discard the rind and remove the saucepan from the heat.⁣

  • In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolk, then whisk in the sugar, vanilla extract and brandy (if using)

  • Keep whisking while very slowly add half a cup of the hot rice mixture. Continue to whisk, slowly adding another half cup of the hot mixture. Then pour the egg mixture into the remaining hot rice mixture, stirring while adding so the egg doesn’t curdle.

  • Put the saucepan back on medium heat (don’t let it boil) and keep stirring until the mixture thickens (this will take a few minutes)

  • Remove from heat. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with cinnamon. Can be enjoyed hot or cold!⁣

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