For me there are 2 main issues, the rice and the liquid. Althought there are variants made with just milk, I favour my mum's recipe which uses water initially - which I believe its a pretty usual recipe..
Ratio is: 1 part rice, 2 parts water, 1 part sugar, 7 to 8 parts milk + 1 cinammon stick, 2 lemon peels, vanilla extract
Recipe: Arroz Doce (Portuguese name :) )
350gr grams short grain rice (a cheap one will do, but for refinement use arborio).
350gr sugar (preferer golden caster, but white sugar is also good, can be also replace 1/3 sugar with honey)
1 cinammon stick
1tsp vanilla extract
2 lemon peels (not 2 lemon's peels!! :) )
2.5L milk (full fat for silkiness, can also be replaced with soy milk for a vegan recipe.)
3 eggs (skip for a vegan rice pudding)
4 litre pan for pudding (steel pan)
3 litre pan to have the milk in (non-stick pan)
My normal size ladel is 100ml - for info.
Run of the mill wooden spoon
. Cook the rice in 2 parts water, bring to the boil, until water is nearly all absorbed (high heat)
constant boil (stirring so it doesn't stick at botton of pan) so its not fully cooked at this stage
. Put the milk on the second pan and keep it high, so when its required its warm and ready.
. Add all sugar, cinamon, vanilla, lemon peels
(reduce heat a little, medium to medium high)
. Add milk
adding it 2 - 5 ladels at a time until each is absorbed.
towards the end, take 2 ladels of pudding out, zap it with a hand mixer and then mix back throughly for extra silkiness (well worth doing)
continue frequent stirring, especially near the end where its most prone to sticking.
. Turn hob off
. Add 3 mixed eggs (if normal recipe, but can be skipped altogether) and mix throughly
. Put in dessert containers to serve (2 ladels each) if you have enough of them (will need around 12), or in a larger flat container (pyrex or plastic container), and fill to about 4 cm high (so you can portion from later whilst keeping a good shape)
. Sprinkle a good amount of cinammon.
. Can be served warm or cold.
The vegan version comes out really well too.
The replacements white sugar + normal short grain rice comes out 1/2 price of caster sugar + arborio rice.
For me never went wrong, lots of compliments and hope this works for you.