Rice Custard

My husband learned to make this when he was 12. I think the recipe originally came from an old Fannie Farmer cookbook. I’ve now been making it for 25 years and it’s absolutely to die for and so quick. It’s fantastic as is but if you have some fruit compote or not-very-thick jam you can top it with a little of that or sliced fresh fruit.


Serves 4 +/-


2 cups milk
2 1/2 -3 cups cooked rice, from 1 generous cup uncooked rice (long or short grain white or brown rice all work) It’s best to use leftover rice that’s a little dried out
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or zest of about 1/4 of a lemon
2 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup sugar (a little more if you like sweeter desserts)
1/4 teaspoon salt


Put the milk, rice and vanilla or lemon zest in a double boiler or any heat proof bowl over a pan of gently boiling water.


In a separate bowl beat the egg yolks, sugar and salt until smooth. When the milk and rice mixture is hot, add a ladleful of hot milk and rice to the egg yolks and whisk well. Add another ladle or two, whisking all along. Then add this mixture back into the remaining milk and rice and whisk well. Cook until thickened, about 10-15 minutes, gently whisking every few minutes. Covering the pan will speed things up.


Meanwhile beat the egg whites until stiff. When custard has thickened remove the bowl from the heat. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites. Serve warm though (cold) leftovers are lovely for breakfast!

Blackberry Slump

The winey, warm taste of bubbling blackberries topped with the simplest possible biscuit-like crust is the epitome of summer desserts. I’m sure juicy peaches and/or plums would work well as would other berries.


If you are using frozen fruit or very juicy fruit you can mix the 1/3 cup sugar with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and then mix it with the fruit.


This is not a very sweet dessert. If you prefer things on the sweeter side feel free to increase the sugar a bit.



3 pints blackberries (or less if you like a higher cake to berry ratio)
Zest of one lemon, divided (half for the berries half for the batter)
Juice of half a lemon or more if your berries are very sweet
1/3 cup sugar



1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
Scant 1/2 cup sugar (about half way between 1/3 and 1/2)
Remaining lemon zest (see above)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk or half and half
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons Turbinado, Demerara or other crunchy, coarse sugar (optional but very fun)


Preheat oven to 375


Mix the filling ingredients (only half the zest though) gently in a large, deep  (10-11 inch) pie dish or a 8 x 13 or other similarly sized baking dish.


In a mixing bowl whisk dry ingredients thoroughly. Add milk and melted butter all at once and whisk quickly and until just combined. Pour/spread over berries. You don’t need to cover them perfectly or evenly.


Sprinkle on the coarse sugar and bake for  40 – 45 minutes until the berries are bubbling around the edges and the crust is golden brown. Make sure you test to see if the batter is cooked through.


Let rest for a bit. Serve warm with barely sweetened whipped cream. Eat the rest for breakfast or share with your neighbors. It’s awfully good on a warm summer’s night.

Apple Dumpling


This is my mother’s recipe and I’m not sure where she found it or how she’s adapted it. You can use your favorite biscuit dough recipe or the simple one below that’s inspired by the Joy of Cooking. Be forewarned that you may find yourself eating too much of this or making it several times in a row or making lifelong friends with whomever you share it. 


Serves 6-8


Biscuit dough:

1 ¾ cup all purpose flour or a combination of whole wheat pastry flour and all purpose

1 teaspoon salt

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

6 tablespoons cold butter

2/3 cup milk (preferably whole)



About 4 medium/large apples, peeled cored and either thinly sliced or cut into small chunks (It’s important that the pieces are quite small so they cook quickly enough)

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup raisins (optional)



10 tablespoons butter (11/4 sticks of butter)

Scant 2/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.


Whisk the salt, baking powder and flour in a bowl. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or work it into the flour with your hands, until the butter ranges in size from large peas to coarse cornmeal. Add the milk and incorporate quickly with a fork. Stir until the dough comes together and then turn out on to a board and knead quickly to bring together into a homogenous dough. You only want to knead it for a few seconds. It doesn’t have to be completely uniform.


Sprinkle your counter with a little flour and roll the biscuit dough into a thin (¼-inch) rectangle, about 11 x 17.


Heat the syrup ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil and take off the heat.


Spread the chopped apples evenly over the rolled out dough. You want to pack on as many apples as you can but you will be rolling up the dough so keep that in mind. Sprinkle the apples evenly with the sugar and cinnamon and raisins, if using. Now carefully roll up the apple-filled dough starting on the short side. Roll as carefully and tightly as you can.


Slice the rolled up dough into 1 ½ -inch slices with a serrated knife (a bread knife works well) and arrange them, cut side up in an 8 x 13” baking pan, packing them in quite snuggly next to each other. Pour the syrup evenly over the rounds and bake until the apples are tender and the syrup is bubbling and caramelized, about 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 400 if the dough is browning too quickly. Let cool just a bit and serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream or just as is!