Chocolate Rice Pudding

rice pudding

“Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder”, one of many traditional Swedish sayings, muttered under my grandmother’s breath, was practical in its wisdom. My interpretation of, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing”, was, “Stop complaining, and put on a warmer sweater if you’re cold.” Wise!

“Låt maten tysta munnen”, another of her favorites, was interpreted by my heart as, “A big, bad snowstorm is coming, so Grandma’s making a hot rice pudding for her beloved, precious grandchildren”, was, in reality: “Let the food quiet the mouth.” Children trapped inside a house, during a storm, can be high energy!

Her classic oven-baked raisin and egg-custard rice pudding was the ultimate comfort food, soothing our nerves during winter snowstorms. The vanilla and cinnamon scents, wafting through the house, diminished frigid air and icy blasts of snow against the window panes, reducing them to tame swirls.

I’ve continued the tradition of my Scandinavian ancestors – five generations, of which I’m aware – making rice pudding to “celebrate” winter storms. Along the way, I’ve made changes – drastically reducing the sugar, and replacing raisins with finely chopped organic dates or figs. Unlike my grandmother, who used grocery-store eggs and milk, I use locally-produced farm-fresh organic ingredients, resulting in a pudding that is more traditional in its richness and flavors, the equivalent of that made by my ancestors four generations ago.

A few years ago, a string of nor’easter winter storms blew through New England, leaving a trail of rice puddings in its wake. By the time February rolled around, I made a chocolate rice pudding – same basic ingredients except for the all-important chocolate – for a change of pace. The family raved about it!

Two weeks later, another storm, another pudding, but this time I’d made my grandmother’s classic. A strange silence, accompanied by long faces, watched as I placed it on the dinner table. The closest thing that could have been interpreted as a compliment, if I’d been in a REALLY optimistic mood, was, “Oh. That one.”

Another Swedish saying came to mind as I looked at them. “Vi har alla varit barn”, which means, “We have all been children.”

I’m motivated by the same thing that motivated my grandmother; not following after the traditions, just for their own sake, but instead, the pleasure of hearing, “You made this? Just for me?”, and happy, smiling faces. I have a feeling this recipe will be around for at least another five or six generations.

rice pudding four layers I love the way this pudding separates into four distinct layers when baking – a thin top brownie-like crust, followed by rich chocolate custard covering a layer of chocolate rice, and ending with a gooey chocolate bottom. A light drizzle of high-quality organic chocolate sauce, along with molasses or sorghum, a dollop of freshly whipped cream, makes for a wonderful treat. I use guidelines from Nourishing Traditions when selecting ingredients, using organic, or, at the very least, “chemical free”, as well as buying local products.

Chocolate Rice Pudding

Pudding Ingredients
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips
8 eggs
4 cups half-and-half, light cream, or whole milk
1/2 cup rapadura or muscovado sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cup cooked rice, cooled

Organic chocolate sauce
Organic unsulphured molasses or sorghum
Whipped Cream (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Prepare “Bain-Marie”* (see definition at end of recipe).
  3. Sprinkle chopped chocolate or chocolate chips on bottom of 9×13 baking pan
  4. Whisk eggs; dairy of choice; sugar; cocoa; and vanilla in a large bowl;
  5. Add rice into dairy/egg/chocolate mixture, gently stirring, breaking up any rice clumps
  6. Gently pour chocolate rice mixture into the 9×13 baking pan.
  7. Place both baking pans in oven, middle-rack; carefully pour 1-inch hot water (I use hot tap water) into outer pan, being careful not to drip any into pudding.
  8. Bake, uncovered, 60 to 70 minutes, until a knife inserted near center comes out clean.
  9. Cool slightly before serving, giving flavors a chance to meld.
  10. Drizzle a small amount of chocolate syrup and/or molasses or sorghum over each individual serving along with a dollop of whipped cream, just before serving.

  • Bain-Marie: (Mary’s bath) is a French cooking technique, placing one pan, containing food, into another larger outer pan into which hot water is poured. This technique provides a more even distribution of heat, especially helpful in custard and egg dishes. Bain-Marie was first used in alchemy, and named after Moses’s sister who practiced alchemy.