Diner-style Rice Pudding Cheesecake

When we saw Allison Robicelli’s recipe for Rice Pudding Cheesecake Pie, we knew we had to give it a try. Her version was amazing, but missing a little something. Honestly, what good is rice pudding without a bit of cinnamon, vanilla, and dried fruit? Exactly. So we added a little spice and some California prunes, and created diner-inspired dessert perfection.

Think rice pudding cake sounds a little out there? Consider that the Italians have been serving up both savory and sweet versions of torta di riso – a cake made of rice and custard on a crust of crushed cookies or bread crumbs – for decades.

Servings: 30 minutes
Prep Time:
Cook Time:

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 7 California prunes, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (8-oz.) blocks cream cheese
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

For the crust:

  • 3 sleeves (24) graham crackers
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, melted

For the topping:

  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Powdered sugar, to finish

Directions

For the filling:

Place the minced prunes in a bowl and cover completely with boiling water. Soak for 15-30 minutes then drain thoroughly allowing the rehydrated prunes to sit in a colander over a bowl or in the sink to continue draining while continuing with the next steps.

While the prunes are soaking, fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Place the rice in a strainer and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear. Add the rice to the boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. Strain into the sink. Return the pot to the stove, add the milk, salt, and the drained rice then simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the cream cheese to the warm rice and milk mixture then set aside, stirring occasionally to incorporate the cream cheese as it melts.

For the crust:

While the rice mixture is cooling make the crust. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 9 x 13″ cake pan with several layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil, leaving an overhang so you can easily lift the cake from the pan later.

In a food processor fitted with the “S” blade, process the graham crackers into crumbs. Mix the melted butter into the crumbs until completely combined then gently press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan to make a thin crust. Bake for 10 minutes.

While the crust is in the oven, whisk the eggs, heavy cream, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla in a large bowl until combined. Add the cooled rice mixture and fold until completely incorporated.

Place the prebaked crust onto a baking sheet to make moving the pan back and forth from the oven easier. Pour the rice filling into the crust then sprinkle the soaked and thoroughly drained minced prunes across the top. Return to the oven and bake for another 30 minutes.

For the topping:

Meanwhile, make the topping. Combine the butter, sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon together in a bowl and knead together using your hands or the back of a fork until crumbly. After the filling has baked for 30 minutes, carefully remove the pan from the oven, crumble the topping evenly over the top then continue baking for another 20-25 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Allow the pie to cool completely before removing from the pan, dust with powdered sugar, and serve. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

RECIPE NOTES:

This dessert is very dense and heavy! Be sure to use heavy-duty aluminum foil when lining the pan to avoid disaster when lifting the cheesecake from the pan later.

No food processor? No problem! Place the graham crackers in a large resealable bag. Use a rolling pin to crush the graham crackers in the bag until they resemble finely crushed crumbs.

For easy slicing, after cooling to room temperature, cover and transfer the entire pan to the refrigerator. Chill for at least 30 minutes preferably overnight. As the cake chills, it sets up firm becoming easier to make uniform slices without breakage.

Ingredient note: This recipe works best with long-grain white rice like Basmati rice. however, in a pinch, Instant Rice will also work. Simply skip the first 10 minute boil period and add the rice directly to the simmering milk mixture. You will need to add up to 5 minutes to the first filling cook time and 5-8 minutes to the final cook time.