Arroz con leche translates from Spanish as “rice with milk”, and perfectly describes how easy it is to make a batch of this classic rice pudding. All the ingredients in this recipe came for the first time to the American continent after the Spanish conquest; there are many recipes from around the world, and Spain itself, with a selection of other ingredients, such as egg yolks, nuts or fruit, and each country of the former Spanish colonies probably has several, as well. In Mexico, the most traditional used to be just rice cooked for hours in whole, unpasteurized milk, then sweetened and flavoured with cinnamon, lime zest and/or vanilla. Nowadays, though, to expedite the process, it is common to slip a shortcut and first cook the rice in water, then add milk, sweeteners and flavourings. This is the route I am taking, and to keep it simple, I will just use cinnamon and raisins as add-ins.
It really does not matter which kind of rice is used, except that it has to be white and raw, not brown or parboiled. Varieties of short grain rice, such as Italian Arborio, or Japanese/American Calrose, work well since they are extra starchy, for a creamy finish, and do not leave a lot of dregs behind after rinsing, but plain long grain rice may be used, just the same:
Quick Rice Pudding – Arroz con leche rápido
1 cup rice
2 ½ cups water
1 stick cinnamon
1 ½ cups milk, plus more, to taste
½ cup sugar
½ cup raisins
Dissolve sugar in one and a half cups of milk; reserve.
Rinse and drain rice, removing any impurities. Place in a pot with the water; bring to boil over high heat, then reduce to a very slow simmer, and cook, covered and undisturbed, for twenty minutes. Turn off the heat, and allow the rice to rest for 5 minutes. Uncover pot; rice should be fully cooked. Return pot to the stove, over medium heat; stir in cinnamon stick and reserved sweetened milk (photo below, left). Add raisins, and continue stirring and cooking (photo below, right):
Continue cooking and stirring, to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pot, until pudding starts to thicken and looks creamy:
Turn off the heat, and allow to rest, covered, for another twenty minutes. The pudding will continue to thicken during this time, so adjust consistency, to taste, by adding more milk. Serve hot, at room temperature or cold, sprinkled with ground cinnamon:
Such a simple and inexpensive recipe results in a delicious sweet treat, which may be enjoyed as a snack, served at breakfast time or saved for la merienda (light supper). Using rice cooked in water shortens cooking time considerably, and it also opens up the opportunity to use up leftover plain steamed rice.
I am sharing my post at Thursday Favourite Things #557, with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Pam @ An Artful Mom, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.