Friday, 15 February 2013

Vegan Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding)

I can never pass up an opportunity to make rice pudding! It's just such a comforting and heart warming dessert. So with my newly made vegan condensed milk in my arsenal, I rolled up my sleeves to try to my hand at a Central American favourite as part of this Costa Rican food month. I've made some changes, as I always do - I just can't help myself! 

A traditional ingredient of arroz con leche is raisins, but I thought I'd be a bit different so I used currants instead because they're such a concentrated little burst of flavour! I was really sold on them and I'm going to use currants in my rice pudding more often (they're also cheaper into the bargain). Secondly, traditionally this pudding would be a lot sloppier - but I tend to like my rice pudding more thick and ricey than thin and soupy. So I added a few less cups of liquid. But if you like your rice pudding a bit more sloppy then you can always thin this out with another couple of cups of rice milk.

The result? Rich, creamy, comforting and simply gorgeous in your mouth! The spices and the citrus flavouring give this a really special palate, combined with little bursts of tangy currents.

1 cup long grain rice
1/2 cup water
4 cups rice milk
1 cinnamon stick
1 long strip fresh lemon peel
1 long strip of fresh orange peel
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins

To Make
1. Combine the rice, water, rice milk, cinnamon stick, lemon peel and orange peel in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
2. Add the condensed milk and sugar and simmer, covered, for a further 5 minutes.
3. Add the vanilla, nutmeg and raisins and simmer, uncovered, for another 10 minutes, or until rice is cooked and pudding is thickened. Stir frequently to prevent the rice sticking to the bottom.
4. Remove cinnamon stick and citrus peel and set aside to cool down to room temperature and then serve. You can sprinkle a bit of extra nutmeg/cinnamon on top for decoration if you want.

Serves 4-6.

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