International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Arroz con Leche

Arroz con Leche Recipe (Spanish rice pudding)

(Spanish rice pudding)

Image Creative Commons by RBerteig

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Arroz con leche (rice with milk) is one of the most popular desserts in the Latin world. This simple sweet conjures up memories of home and is supreme comfort food.

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Milk -- 4 cups
  • Short-grain rice --1/2 cup
  • Cinnamon stick -- 1
  • Orange or lemon peel (optional) -- 2 strips
  • Salt -- pinch
  • Raisins -- 1/4 cup
  • Sugar -- 1/2 cup
  • Butter -- 2 tablespoons
  • Vanilla -- 1 teaspoon

Method

  1. Place the milk, rice, cinnamon stick, orange or lemon peel and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Immediately reduce heat to very low and simmer, stirring often and scraping bottom, for about 45 minutes.
  2. Add the raisins and sugar and simmer for another 15 minutes. Stir often to keep from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Adjust sugar to taste and serve hot or cold, sprinkling the top with some ground cinnamon.

Variations

  • Arroz con Dulce (Puerto Rico), or Arroz-Doce (Brazil): use coconut milk in place of regular milk.
  • Short-grain rice, like arborio or Valencia rice, is best for rice pudding as it gives the dessert a creamier texture, but regular long-grain rice can be used to good result too. A little more rice can be added if you want a firmer pudding. If the pudding gets too thick, just add a little more milk.
  • Sometimes water, cream, sweetened and condensed milk or evaporated milk is substituted for part of the regular milk. Just make sure the total amount of liquid adds up to 4 cups. And adjust the amount of sugar as needed.
  • Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of brandy or rum when you stir in the butter and vanilla if you like.
  • Some recipes call for stirring in 2 beaten egg yolks at the end before adding the butter and vanilla. The heat of the pudding will cook the yolks, make it creamier and give it a pale golden color.