Nothing like drawing a lop-sided cinammon-ny heart on rice pudding to make it go from sweet to cloying…and yeah yeah, we are guilty as charged! Apparently even two self-professed too-cool-for-school girls like us, like to unleash our inner princesses now and then.
Arroz Doce (sweet rice pudding) is a ubiquitous Portuguese dessert, finding its way on to every family’s table on every special occasion. Rice pudding, in itself, is a fairly pedestrian dessert, basic in its ingredients and easy in its preparation, and found in many cultures. The Portuguese twist lies in the absolutely divine combination of lemony flavor and cinnamon!
The recipe works best with short-grained rice. Arborio rice (typically used in Risottos) makes a very good candidate. The following recipe is adapted from Ana Patuleia Ortins’ Portuguese Homestyle Cooking
Recipe for Arroz Doce (serves 4)
1 cup short grain rice
2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
Peel of 1 lemon, in large pieces
Ground cinnamon for decorating
Bring the water to a boil and add the rice and the salt and reduce heart ot medium-low. Cover and simmer the rice for about 20-25 mins, till the water is nearly evaporated.
Warm up the milk and stir it into the rice. Add the lemon peel pieces and simmer, stirring all the while (for another 20-25 mins.) When the rice is well-cooked, add the sugar and continue to cook till the sugar is dissolved. The pudding will thicken to the consistency of oatmeal at this point (in about 10 mins.) Remove from heat and remove the lemon peel pieces.
A variation that was suggested (and one that we used in our recipe) was to beat 3 or 4 egg yolks in a bowl. When the rice pudding was ready and still hot, take about a quarter of the portion and gradually mix it into the egg yolk. Add the yolk mixture to the rest of the pudding and quickly blend in, stirring constantly for 1 minute to cook the eggs.
Finally, pour the putting into individual platters or cups and let cool. Decorate with cinnamon (and please be more creative than us!) and serve chilled.
La Dolce Vita…indeed!