What do you think of when you hear the words rice pudding? Creamy. Rich. Sweet. Comforting. Warm. Delicate.
It may conjure up a variety of childhood memories — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Or perhaps you’ve never had the pleasure of eating it. Oh noes! Well, do not despair. Today is the day you meet happy grain of rice.
For me, arroz con leche, or rice pudding, is a quintessential dessert that’s easy to make and is close to my heart. I remember growing up as a kid and being able to pick up the delightfully sweet and spicy smell as it wafted in from the kitchen to my bedroom. My grandma was always one to make all sorts of delicious little things on a whim. Because she’s fly like that.
Traditionally, the Peruvian version of rice pudding has cinnamon, condensed milk, and evaporated milk. It’s delicious — in a simple, straightforward, no-fuss way. Today, though, I was feeling a little bit adventurous and wanted to incorporate a few of my most favorite ingredients: almonds, cherries, and spiced rum.
Here’s how I did it:
Almond-Cherry Rice Pudding with Spiced Rum
Inspired by Giada De Laurentiis
4 C. vanilla sweetened almond milk
1 C. evaporated milk
2/3 C. arborio rice
1 T. vanilla extract
1/2 C. sugar
2 t. spiced rum
1/2 C. dried cherries
Almond slivers; toasted for garnish
In a medium-sized sauce pot over medium-high heat, combine the almond milk, evaporated milk, rice, and vanilla together. Let the mixture come to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow to simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is tender, making sure to stir often. Mix in the sugar and spiced rum. Let the mixture thicken a little for another 7 minutes. Add the dried cherries and stir. Take the rice pudding off the heat and spoon them into small (or big) bowls of your choice. Garnish with some toasted, slivered almonds. At this point, you can decide to eat it right away while it’s still ooey-gooey warm or you can toss them in the fridge to set for a couple hours. Both ways are delicious.
My version of rice pudding is just sweet enough for me, but feel free to adjust the sugar as you personally would like. And if you’re feeling extra naughty, you can drizzle some condensed milk right on top. Mmm…