This rice pudding comes from the author's Cuban friend who uses starchy, short-grain Valencia-style rice to achieve a creaminess reminiscent of risotto. Valencia-style rice can be found at most supermarkets; you can also use a short-grain rice like Arborio or Japanese white rice.
3 cups water
1 cup short-grain rice (such as Arborio)
4 whole cloves
1 (2-inch) piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup evaporated fat-free milk
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon chopped crystallized ginger
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
How to Make It
Place water and rice in a large saucepan. Place cloves, vanilla, and cinnamon on a double layer of cheesecloth. Gather edges of cheesecloth together; tie securely. Add to rice mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low; cook 20 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is almost absorbed.
Stir in milks and raisins; cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in ginger, rind, and salt; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove cheesecloth with spices. Pour rice mixture into a bowl or individual bowls; cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap. Chill. Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.
I loved this recipe. Part of cooking is altering a recipe to fit your personal tastes and that doesn't mean it is a bad recipe. I left out the cloves, used vanilla extract and I agree that it did need a bit more water to start. The rice was still pretty undercooked after all the water was absorbed. It also took longer than the cooking instructions but not so much that I would not make it again. I got rave reviews over this recipe and the taste. If you are super into coconut it doesn't really come through in the taste so it could use extract or shredded coconut to play up the flavor a bit.
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