I wasn’t raised on rice pudding. I knew what it was but the thought of it really didn’t appeal to me. Then again, I wasn’t even introduced to arroz con dulce until I happened to be in Puerto Rico during Christmastime when I was in my mid 20s.
Bryan, however, was.
“I love a good rice pudding.”
A few weeks ago, Bryan asked me to make arroz con dulce. He really likes the coconut in it as well as the texture and other flavors. I told him no. He gives me a pouty face and I’m all, “You know that I only make it during the holidays. The same thing goes with coquito.”
I am thrilled that he loves Puerto Rican food and asks for it. Mumika didn’t start cooking Puerto Rican food until after Dad died and I feel like the food is a big part of who I am. Hell, I used to take an avocado to school back in high school and eat it with a spoon for lunch.
I sort of felt bad denying Bryan his request, so I made him normal rice pudding. I’ve never made it and it looked simple. Not at all as cumbersome as sweet rice is. And I happened to have all the ingredients already and I love it when that happens. Although it is rare.
I did reduce the sugar from 1/3 to 1/4 cup in fear that the original measurement would make it too sweet. I wanted a rich creaminess to it, not a mushy sweetness. You don’t have to use whole milk, but I have always considered whole milk too creamy to drink in general which is why I used it.
4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup raw white rice
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
Dump the milk, rice, and salt into a large, heavy saucepan.
Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.
Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
Uncover and continue simmering, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender and the pudding is reduced to about 3-1/2 cups.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract.
Slowly add a small portion of the cooked rice mixture to the yolk mixture.
Pour the contents of the small bowl into the saucepan, making sure to scrape the bowl.
Set the pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring and scraping the sides and bottom of the pan constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of the spoon.
Remove the pan from the heat.
I’m so happy I used whole milk. It has this nice rich creamy custard like taste to it.
You can garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon to really highlight all the flavors of the rice pudding.
When first pouring the milk in the saucepan, I would try to make a mental note where 3 cups is that way you have some sort of basis later when reducing. This way you won’t have to stop everything and measure.
Although I do love this version, I miss the coconut undertone you taste in the arroz con dulce.
Next time I might try to make a rice porridge with strawberry or cherry jam/preservatives.