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Why blanch rice for rice pudding?

Liana Krissoff | May 24, 2008 10:50 AM

I'm wondering why many rice pudding recipes ask you to blanch the rice in water before cooking it in the milk? These are soft puddings usually served cold—the creamy gloopy kind, not the firm baked kind with raisins. I would think that you'd want to retain the starch on the outside of the rice to help it get creamy as you cook and stir it; blanching would seem to remove some of that starch. Does blanching help the "grains" retain their shape over long cooking? How?

My favorite rice pudding, incidentally, is this one:

and it does the blanching thing.

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