One of the cosiest puddings, this is great with sliced fresh fruit. But at this time of year, when soft fruits become scarcer, it can be replaced by a big dollop of jam, preferably raspberry. Vanilla is essential here, as it works with the sugar to create a soft cream.
4 tbsp short-grain rice, washed and drained
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthwise
3 cups full-fat milk
A few grindings of freshly grated nutmeg
Heat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas3 and butter a 750ml/11/4 pints pie dish. Put the rice, sugar and vanilla pod in the bottom, then pour over the milk. Stir once or twice to incorporate the ingredients. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 11/2 hours until thick and creamy with a golden skin. Remove from the oven and grate over the nutmeg if you like. For variation, add a few sultanas to the mix, or a tablespoon or so of sweet sherry.