A Time-Honored Recipe by Deb Jenny

covermed.jpgI wrestled with sharing this recipe, as it’s been in the family for several generations, dating at least to my mother’s great-grandmother but very likely before that. Part of me wondered if a family recipe ought to remain just that. But part of me felt that the spirit of the recipe is in the sharing of it, in the passing on of a good thing so that others may enjoy it and maybe in so sharing, passing on a piece of my mother’s Gram, who I never had the pleasure of knowing. And of my Grandmother, who was a gem of a woman and amazingly able to subdivide her love amongst seven children and some twenty-two grandchildren and then, oh, I’ve lost count, but at least that many great-grandchildren, and of course my own mother, whose cooking skills are legendary and whose cooking legacy (along with my grandmother’s) was most fortunately passed on to me.

Now this is one recipe you’ll never find in the New York Times food section, or between the pages of Food & Wine or Gourmet. Certainly not Bon Appetit. But if you find this served at your holiday buffet table, you’ll be crazy not to at least try one.

And so in the holiday spirit, a family favorite that definitely takes a bit of a time commitment to make, but after all, what good thing isn’t worth a little effort?


[You’ll need a double boiler for this, and you need to check frequently that the bottom pan has enough water in it—just enough so it doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan inserted into it.]

What you’ll need:

1 quart whole milk
3 tbl. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3-4 sticks cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 dozen large or jumbo eggs
1 box Kellogg’s Corn Flake Crumbs
about 2 24-oz. bottles Planter’s Peanut Oil
1 jar red currant jelly

To make:

In the insert pan of a double boiler, bring to scald 1 quart milk (4 cups)—this means have the burner on high, watching till a thin film forms on the surface of the milk. (to use a double boiler you put just enough water in the bottom pan to come close to but not touch the pan inserted into it—this is simply a gentler way to apply heat to something inclined to burn with direct heat).

When the milk begins to scald, turn the temperature to medium-low and stir in:

3/4 c. uncooked long-grain rice
3 tbl. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 sticks cinnamon

Stir mixture together. You will need to stir periodically (every 1/2 hour or so) as the mixture thickens, and again, remember to add water to the bottom pan of the double boiler while you cook this down. It will take several hours till the ingredients thicken to the consistency of very thick mashed potatoes (you will need to be able to roll into small golf ball-sized balls which will hold their shape).

Let mixture cool to room temperature, then roll into balls (see above). It helps to keep your hands damp with a small amount of water while rolling so the rice mixture doesn’t stick to your fingers.

In a pie pan, beat together about 4 eggs,
In another pie pan, pour about 2-1/2 cups Kellogg’s corn flake crumbs.

Roll the rice balls first in the egg and then in the cornflake crumbs till coated, and set aside on cookie sheets.

When all balls are rolled in egg then corn flake crumbs, heat the peanut oil in a wok on medium high or electric skillet or deep fryer to about 375°F. When a pinch of bread tossed into hot oil browns quickly, the oil is ready.

Now, ever so carefully (I have a deep-seated fear of hot oil, as I’ve had plenty of burns with it over the years), lower 4-5 rice croquettes at a time from slotted spoon into the oil. Cook for a few minutes, turning if needed, until golden. Drain on paper bag covered with paper towels. Refrigerate when done cooking.

These can be eaten hot immediately or re-heated in the oven at 375°F for about 10 minutes.

Serve with currant jelly. And don’t ask me the calorie content of these things. I’m afraid to know.

18 Replies to “A Time-Honored Recipe by Deb Jenny”

  1. Oh! In Italian we call those “Arancini!” I’ve never had a sweet version, only savory. I use our milk substitue and a GF corn flake the kids can eat them! Thanks for the recipe. The recipe week is a lot of fun.

    (Don’t forget to come “meet” Kimberly Willis Holt, National Book Award winner over at my place. I have a giveaway copy of Piper Reed Navy Brat!

  2. Thanks for the reminder about your guest today–will get over there now!
    I have seen similar recipes–including the arancini, and also some are made w/ risotto. The sweet aspect of this is the difference, I guess. I’ve never had rice pudding but suspect it has a similar flavor, but the texture isn’t as gooey, which is a deal-breaker for me with the pudding…

  3. Totally, KIm. Once I was going to have to have this nasty medical test in which I had to eat irradiated eggs and I told them there was no way that was physically possible. So then she offered up the irradiated oatmeal as the alternative. I told her that too was out of the question. Luckily they figured out the problem with another test before having to get to that nasty stuff which I could NEVER have ingested!!!
    Joanne–feel free to share that kugel recipe with us 😉

  4. I like oatmeal myself. If you add a bit of peanut butter and top with a sprinkle of brown sugar it tastes a bit like raw peanut butter cookie dough.

    The little rice heart stoppers sound good- but I too share your fear of the hot oil. Then I never know what to do with the hot oil once I’m done and I fret about that.

  5. Looking forward to that book w/ the recipe, Joanne!
    Irradiated eggs and oatmeal–I guess it’s modern medicine’s way of torturing you just one more way…After they make you drink barium, what next? They had to come up with something ghastly, right?
    And Eileen, they could mix champagne and caviar and oatmeal and it would merely be oatmeal dressed up. Though caviar grosses me out too. Well, they could put cookies in it and STILL I wouldn’t eat it. Maybe a million dollars would motivate me. And maybe you could drizzle the old oil on that oatmeal for flavoring…

  6. Yum. Yum, yum. Not that I’ll actually make it, but I might pass the recipe to someone else and beg them to make it for me.

    I love caviar, especially if it’s served on the fancy pancake things with a bit of whipped cheese.

  7. EEuuuhhwww on the eggs and oatmeal–ditto!! what is that? White creamy food just basically makes me shudder in general. Now your recipe sounds very very interesting, I might have to attempt that, then make homemade doughnuts! Oh wait, I’m trying to stop the bulge from increasing. I’m already having muffin guilt from my store run today. How about I just WATCH someone make these. :~) Suz

  8. Jenny, it was sweet to share an old family recipe. I’ve gone back and forth on that one this season, but I’m going to share my grandmother’s butter cookie recipe with my friends, because what good does it do if it isn’t shared so many more can enjoy it.

  9. Okay, Jess, I’ll ‘fess up that my mother has taken to nuking hers in a pyrex dish in the microwave. It cooks way faster that way, so it is an option…
    Suz–I think you should get your son to cook them for you in an industrial kitchen where the grease is in that handy little fryer thing and you don’t have to discard it afterward and someone else can clean up the mess!
    Amanda–feel free to pass that cookie recipe on 😉 . I agree, it’s nice to share so that others may enjoy as well!
    And Larramie, these disappear in the blink of an eye–my kids scarf them down like they’re candy

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