Arroz Doce! Mmmmm… This is a great way to start off my blog for a couple of reasons. #1 – This is Easter week and coming from a Portuguese family, no Easter (or any holiday really) is complete without rich and creamy, Portuguese Rice Pudding. Growing up, I can’t recall a gathering without it. #2 – This is a super easy recipe, but for some reason, it took me years to master it. My mother can attest to the many times I called her reviewing her recipe and trying to figure out how I possibly could have missed a step. So, what I would like to do is take you through the process to help you avoid the pain I endured from failed attempt after failed attempt and lead you to a perfect rice pudding in one shot for your Easter table!
Now please, please, please don’t confuse Portuguese Rice Pudding with traditional American style rice pudding you may find on your grocer’s shelves which is little more than vanilla pudding with cooked rice mixed in for kicks. No, no, no… My mother’s rice pudding is anything but!
A couple of tips I have learned over the years before we get started. First, you will need a heavy bottom stainless steel pot with a lid. I’ll be honest, most of my cooking is done in non-stick cookware, but it just doesn’t work so well for this recipe because sometimes the rice will stick to the bottom (regardless of what type of cookware you use) and if it does, we need it to stay there; otherwise, you will end up with a bunch of brown bits floating through your final product, not so pretty or tasty. Next, the type of rice you use for this dish is pretty critical. You will need to find regular medium grain rice. Please don’t try this with a brown rice or a boil in the bag rice or any type of minute rice and absolutely nothing parboiled. Just plain cheap medium grain white rice is fine. If you want to get fancy, you can get the slightly pricier River Rice, which is my Mom’s preferred brand, but its not necessary if you just follow these guidelines. Also, I want to note that this recipe is very easily doubled or even tripled if you have a big enough pot, but I would not go further than that.
OK… Let’s get started…
Portuguese Rice Pudding recipe:
1 cup rice, medium grain, white
1 cup water
3 cups milk, whole (1 or 2% also works)
1 cup white sugar
1 lg. egg yolk
1 lemon rind
1 scant pinch of salt
cinnamon for dusting
Bring water and milk to a boil with the lemon rind and salt on medium high. Add in rice and stir, turn burner down to just above the lowest setting, cover the pot. Stir occasionally. About 20 minutes later most of the liquid should be evaporated… also, test the rice to see that it is fully tender… this is when you add in the sugar and stir. The mixture will become liquefied again, continue cooking on low for another 5-10 minutes, stirring more frequently. Once most of the liquid has once again absorbed into the rice, add in the egg yolk, stirring vigorously. Pour into a shallow dish and sprinkle with cinnamon or form a design with cinnamon. Enjoy!
note: this is a naturally gluten free recipe… just ensure that each ingredient brand you use specifically is gluten free (as it should naturally be) and you are good to go!