Oven baked carrot casserole (porkkanalaatikko):
2 dl (200 ml or 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp) short grained rice or "pudding rice" (Finnish puuroriisi)
1/2 litre water
1 litre (full-fat) milk
1 kg carrots
2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg (or more to taste)
2 tbsp syrup* (or 1 tbsp sugar)
breadcrumbs and butter
*Finnish syrup is darker than golden syrup but lighter than treacle. I mix 1/3 treacle with 2/3 golden syrup to get something resembling Finnish syrup
Bring 1/2 litre of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add rice and cook until the water has absorbed. Add the milk, and cook until rice is cooked and a loose porridge forms (about 30-40 mins). Let cool.
Peel and chop carrots. Bring enough water to a boil in a saucepan to cover the carrots. Cook carrots until soft. Drain water and mash carrots (you can use a potato masher, ricer or handheld blender).
Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Mix the carrots with the rice porridge and add eggs, spices and syrup. Divide into two oven proof bowls and sprinkle generously with breadcrumbs and place small knobs of butter on top. Bake in the oven for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. The top should be golden, and the carrot bake should be bubbling. In my opinion, a longer baking time makes a more tasty casserole.
This is one of those dishes that just have to be on the Christmas table, or else Christmas is ruined. It's really tasty and although so many buy the casseroles ready-made from the store, I think the home-made variety is infinitely better. And it's not that much of a hassle really. I like to make it a day ahead, and then re-heat on the day. The only thing that really takes a bit of time is the carrot peeling, but unless you are making in double or triple serving (and you shouldn't need to unless you are having several dozen guests) this will be more than enough for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and possibly Boxing Day as well. And after that you don't want any more anyways, it's that extra bit delicious because you only get it once a year. However, this is a really cheap dish to make and it makes quite a few servings, so I don't see why you couldn't make it at other times of the year as well, as a thrifty side. Delicious with some ham, turkey or any other meat. I even makes a light lunch all by itself.