arroz con leche with rum raisins & cinnamon whipped cream
Arroz con leche is a typical Central/South American rice pudding. It’s creamy and cold and it has a lovely hint of orange along with the cinnamon. Raisins can be added or omitted according to preference, but for Elias arroz con leche without raisins is pure blasphemy (¿Sin pasas? ¡Nunca!) Inspired by a recipe I saw for Rum Raisin tiramisu, I decided to make this dessert a bit more “adult” by soaking the raisins in rum, and it gave it added depth of flavor. Yum! Our dinner guests gobbled this up with smiles and compliments and while it was the laughter and conversation that made the dinner truly memorable, this dessert put the perfect exclamation point on a lovely light dinner that included this salmon. As Spring arrives and turns to Summer, I can see this arroz con leche recipe appearing regularly on our table. It doesn’t heat up the house, it’s super easy, and it is “lick the bowl” delicious. ¡Buen Provecho!
Arroz Con Leche Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 cup long grain white rice
2 large cinnamon sticks
2 one inch wide slices of orange zest
4 cups water
1 egg (room temperature)
3 cups whole milk
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
1 pinch cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup raisins (optional)
3 Tablespoons rum (optional)
1 T vanilla
1. Soak the raisins in the rum in a small bowl, set aside
2. Soak the rice, water, cinnamon, cloves, and orange zest in a separate saucepan
3. Let both the raisins and the rice/water mixture sit for an hour (or more… mine sat for close to 2 before I got around to continuing and it was fine)
4. After soaking, bring the rice water mixture to a boil (uncovered).
5. Turn the heat down to medium and let the mixture cook until the water is nearly evaporated (10-15 minutes)
6. While the mixture is cooking, beat the egg in a bowl and add the milk
7. After nearly all the water is evaporated, add the egg mixture, vanilla, sweetened/condensed milk and raisins (with any remaining rum)
8. Cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the mixture thickens slightly. (This yields a thinner arroz con leche, which is a consistency that we prefer. If you prefer a thicker consistency, let the mixture cook for 20-30 minutes.) Be sure to watch carefully and stir to avoid scorching.
9. Remove cinnamon sticks and orange zest and let come to room temperature uncovered
10. Transfer to refrigerator and let cool for at least 6 hours or overnight.
About the cinnamon whipped cream
The cinnamon whipped cream was a last minute addition invented to both make the dessert somehow more “fancy” and also to give me an excuse to eat a ton of whipped cream. (Why not?) It added a nice surprise on the arroz con leche and a canvas for the cinnamon sprinkled on top but arroz con leche is just fine without the whipped cream. I am enjoying the leftovers by brewing decaf coffee with a cinnamon stick and topping it with this whipped cream. Delicious.
Cinnamon Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream, ice cold
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat all ingredients together with a hand mixer or stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over beat. I find that chilling the bowl and the beater first in the freezer makes the process quicker and easier. Devour immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.