Craving something but nothing sounds good enough? When facing this dilemma, remember there is an ally in your pantry that may help you solve it: rice. This is one of the most underrated food items because people tend to believe it is boring and bland. Actually, it is precisely this characteristic that makes it so unique. This ancient grain complements any kind of food since it pairs perfectly well with meat, fish, vegetables, and even fruits.
Still not buying it? There are plenty of delicious examples: rice bowl with nuts and dried fruits, one-pan rice and beef stew, and super-easy fried rice with eggs and veggies. With rice, it is all about seasoning and creativity.
The perfect comfort dessert
Chocolate is great but if you have a sweet tooth, there is no need to resort to it all the time. Rice makes great comforting desserts too! Let’s consider arroz con leche, which literally means “rice with milk”, one of the oldest desserts in the world. Even though its origins seem to be in Spain, there are many different versions since each country has adapted the recipe to satisfy local tastes.
In some regions, cinnamon is the key ingredient that enhances all flavors, in others, it is lemon zest. Other versions use eggs to create an even thicker texture. Differences aside, the final result is always a creamy soul-warming comfort food which is made to be enjoyed wrapped in a blanket on a cold winter evening.
A classic recipe with a twist
When it comes to arroz con leche, ingredients may vary but cooking methods do not differ that much. Typically, the first step is bringing milk to a boil and then adding the rice and all the ingredients that add up flavor. That’s it! There’s no real mystery behind this recipe.
However, as food and creativity go hand in hand, soon someone realized that there was a way to revamp this old-fashioned dessert. So why not bake it instead of steaming it? Either on the stovetop or in the oven, this Arroz con Leche recipe will for sure bring back some sweet memories from your childhood. In addition, you already probably have all the ingredients you need.
Something to bear in mind before starting is that all ovens are different so cooking time may need some adjustments for the pudding to reach the right texture. You can test the rice for doneness, it should be tender but not soggy.
All in all, it is a super easy and healthy recipe that is always a hit with the family. Surely you’ll not need further reasons to try it today, so hands-on.
Ingredients (3 servings):
- 1 cup medium-grain rice, uncooked.
- ½ cup white sugar.
- 1 tbsp butter.
- 2 cups whole milk.
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon.
- 1 tsp nutmeg.
- ½ cup heavy cream.
- Raisins or sultanas, to taste.
- Preheat the oven to 350° (175° C). While you are waiting, melt the butter in the microwave and brush every inner side of a baking tray or oven-safe dish with it. You can also use small serving dishes to make individual portions.
- Mix the whole milk and the heavy cream in a bowl until they integrate. Then, add the rest of the ingredients and stir.
- Pour the mixture in the baking tray and bake for 45-50 minutes. Cooking time may vary if you choose individual serving dishes. It will be ready when you notice that the top has set and that a slightly golden skin has formed. Serve while still warm.
Not a fan of raisins? If you enjoy a more tangy taste, feel free to add dried cranberries to give your rice pudding a nice texture. As regards spices, you can always substitute nutmeg and cinnamon with cardamom or ginger. In addition, lemon or orange zest may be added to any sweet preparation to liven up its flavor.
If you have any leftovers, you can always store them in the fridge for up to 4 days. Remember to heat in the microwave and add a few spoons of milk to each portion to avoid making the pudding too dry. Surprisingly, this dish is not freezer-friendly since it will suffer freezer burn and the texture will change.