Egg-Nog Rice Pudding Custard (Dairy-Free)

A tradition passed down from my paternal grandparents was Sunday Night Rice Pudding as the meal. I'm guessing it was an easy meal for Grandma to make at the end of her "day of rest", especially since the rest of the day may have been less than relaxing after the big Sunday lunch after church for a family of 11 plus whatever guests they had over.

Growing up, we had Rice Pudding on Sunday nights about half the time--Sundays were also the night of my Dad's hockey league games, and a meal of just rice pudding didn't provide the long-term energy he needed, so we often had other things, or Rice Pudding as dessert only.

Our family does this far less. But, on occasion, it makes a great, light, "snacky" meal, albeit not the healthiest one ever because of the starch and sweets. I made a modified, "healthy" version many years ago that had more eggs and less sugar than most recipes I had found, but was still delicious... and a treat that shows up far less than my kids would like. :-)

On a recent Sunday night, faced with a shortage of protein items in the house (except eggs), and less cooked rice than I would usually use in a Rice Pudding recipe to feed my hungry boys, not to mention my lactose-intolerant Levi (another reason this menu item is not on really regular rotation), I decided to modify it yet again.

So, here is my dairy-free version that is more a custard than a rice pudding, and a much more acceptable meal replacement than a straight dessert. It turned out pretty good. The family mostly liked it--although the vote was that the "normal" recipe was slightly better. (Duh! Dessert!)

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Egg-Nog Rice Pudding Custard (Dairy-Free)

Makes about 8 cups. Serves 6-8 as the only menu item, or twice that as a side.

In lg. casserole (about 4-5 qt.), mix:

1 doz. eggs, beaten
1 400 mL can coconut milk
1 c. maple syrup
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. vanilla
8 c. cooked brown rice
2/3 c. seedless raisins
1/4 c. hemp hearts or pumpkin seeds

Mix well. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake covered at 375 degrees for 50 minutes*, or until set and knife inserted comes out clean. Serve with cinnamon and cream (or coconut milk or oil.)

*If you opt to halve this recipe, I recommend cooking at 350 degrees rather than shortening the time for a more even bake.