My mum always used to make rice pudding on the hob, thereby avoiding the skin on top (my husband complains that this is the best bit), and this is how I like to make it too. I usually keep it very basic; simply milk, sugar and pudding rice brought to the boil and then simmered gently on the hob in a heavy-based saucepan with an occasional stir until the rice is cooked. I don’t even have exact quantities, because I guess the amounts of rice and sugar and simply add more milk as I need it during cooking.
Sometimes, however, I like to make rice pudding along the lines of a Nigella Lawson rice pudding recipe I’d once read, which is made like a sweet risotto. I started off with a bit of butter warming in the pan, then added the pudding rice and sugar and gently fried it until the rice started to caramelise. Before it had a chance to burn, I added some whole milk, brought it to the boil and then turned it down to a simmer. I left it a little at first, but near the end I stirred it constantly to stop it catching on the bottom. Then, if you have any, you can stir in some cream near the end for a real touch of luxury.
With the butter and cream this is a luxury version of rice pudding, best reserved for special occasions and kept to a small portion. For most of the time and to enable larger portions without guilt, semi-skimmed milk, sugar and pudding rice will do just as well. You can add a spoonful of jam, chocolate spread or grated chocolate for extra indulgence, but I quite like mine as it is from the pan.