Arroz con Leche, Rice Pudding

Since May is a month dedicated to mothers, I thought it would a great time to share this traditional recipe, because I'm sure for many of us it will bring back childhood memories, and remind us of our dear mothers and grandmothers.

This is one of the three versions of rice pudding that I cook. I love the flavor and creaminess the evaporated and condensed milks add to this pudding. At home we eat it hot and cold, sprinkled with lots of cinnamon.

If you still have not prepared this traditional dessert, it's time to do so. Enjoy its rich flavor, and keep the tradition of homemade desserts alive in your family.

Like all traditional recipes, rice pudding is published on many websites, yet everyone of them has their own variations. Because it's a favorite classic, every cook includes it in their recipe collection. Since this is another favorite at home, especially for my husband, I couldn't leave it out of this blog. 
Also with this post I am fulfilling the request of many readers who wrote to me about this recipe, I hope you enjoy my version.

Rice Pudding (Arroz con Leche)  

1 cup uncooked rice
1 cinnamon stick
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup raisins (optional)
1 can condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
ground cloves to taste
lemon peel (optional)
2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Clean and rinse rice. Let rice soak in two and a half cup water for 20 minutes. Add three cups more of water and cinnamon stick; simmer for 15-17 minutes covered.
2. Add, salt, and raisins, cook for another ten minutes or until the rice is tender.
3. Mix the condensed milk, evaporated milk, cinnamon, cloves, lemon zest and vanilla, and add to rice. Verify sweetness, and add more sugar or condensed milk if you think necessary. Cook uncovered on moderate heat for ten minutes, moving constantly to prevent rice pudding from sticking to the pot.
4. Remove from heat; the consistency should be a little watery; since the pudding will thicken as it cools. After five minutes, discard lemon zest and cinnamon stick. Serve hot or cold, sprinkled with ground cinnamon.

a) You can substitute the evaporated milk for whole milk, and or substitute the condensed milk for granulated sugar to taste, but making it just as this recipe states, makes a creamy and rich rice pudding!  

b) In step #2, when cooking the rice for those ten minutes, if you think it needs more time and water for the rice to get tender, add one to two extra cups of water and let cook until soft, before adding the milks.

Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. ~ Proverbs 31:29-30


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