Ruby Ortizís Cinnamon Rice Pudding
Creamy rice pudding is the ultimate comfort food. For some, it is also the
taste of home and there are nearly as many versions the world over as there
are cultures. In Bali, you can have black rice simmered in coconut milk
and, in Turkey, medium-grain rice perfumed with saffron and rosewater.
France probably has the most over-the top-version in Riz a líImperatrice:
Larousse Gastronomique, the rice is cooked with
milk, sugar and eggs, flavored with vanilla, and mixed with custard and
whipped cream before being poured into a charlotte mould spread with
gooseberry jelly. (We havenít been tempted.)
This is the simple version we make at home. The recipe came to us from our
Columbian housekeeper, Ruby Ortiz, who stirred rice with milk and cinnamon
in our tiny New York kitchen, dreaming of the tropical life she left
behind. The sweet, creamy flavor comes from condensed milk which is often
used in Latin American dessertsódonít leave it out. For our children,
Alexandra and Angus, Ruby added raisins to the pudding; grown-ups may enjoy
the raisins plumped in dark rum.
To serve 6
1 cup long grain
rice (ordinary Carolina brand rice is best)
4 cups boiling water
4 cups milk
1 6-inch Indonesian cassia stick, broken in half
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4-cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4-cup dark rum
Ground cassia, to taste
1. Place the rice
in a bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Let it soak for 20
minutes, then drain it in a strainer. Rinse the rice under cold running
water until the water runs clear.
2. Combine the milk, cassia sticks and vanilla in a medium saucepan and
bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Add the rice, lower the heat,
and cook slowly for about 30 minutes, until it is tender and has
absorbed most of the milk. Stir as often as necessary to keep it from
sticking to the bottom of the pan.
3. While the rice is cooking, heat the rum in a small saucepan. Stir in
the raisins and set aside.
4. When the rice is creamy and tender, stir in the sweetened condensed
milk. Drain the raisins, reserving one tablespoon for garnish. Stir
the rest of the raisins into the pudding, cook for another minute and
remove from the heat. Discard the cassia sticks.
5. Serve the rice pudding in individual bowls while still warm.
Sprinkle each serving with a few raisins and a light dusting of ground
to Spice Kitchen]