Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding or Milk with Rice), is a dessert deeply rooted in Basque culinary traditions. Many extraordinary recipes passed down to our families are rarely written down. It’s never been easy to transpose culinary techniques into paper. I learned from mom and my aunts through observation. Emulating. Listening.
Growing up, Natillas con islas flotantes (îles flottantes crème) Flan (Crème Caramel) and Arroz con Leche were often made at home. Although mom baked fabulous apple pies and almond cake (and still does), these were our family treats. No special occasion was calendared to enjoy them. Holidays and family gatherings were not complete without them. I continue to make them today. My young daughter and husband can’t resist them. Who can?
Arroz Con Leche is quite easy to make, but, it can’t be rushed. Care and constant attention are required ingredients. Slow food. You will find many variations of Arroz con Leche. Some use eggs, vanilla, honey, raisins, even cream. We make it the traditional way. The secret for a good Arroz con Leche resides in the quality of milk and the rice chosen. The freshest the milk, the better it will turn out. If you live in an area where dairy farms are within reach, buy it from them. Alternatively, use organic. Try to use a short-grain rice, as it absorbs more flavor. When cooked, it becomes chewy, creamy. Personally, I love this consistency. Bring the little ones to the table, and offer them the softness and delicacy of your own Arroz con Leche. Full of nutrients.
A lifetime treat. Forever comfort food.
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- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 gallon Organic Whole Milk
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup uncooked rice (Arborio or Bomba)
- Skin of ½ lemon
- In a saucepan, gently simmer the milk and the cinnamon stick. Add the rice and the sugar, salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the lemon peel. Cook over very low heat for about an hour or hour and a half. Gently steering until it is well cooked. Remove lemon skin and cinnamon stick. Serve on individual bowls, platter or any container of your choice. Sprinkle with cinnamon to taste. Let it cool.