Thursday, February 19, 2009

And What is the Matter With Mary Jane?

What is the matter with Mary Jane?
She's perfectly well and she hasn't a pain,
And it's lovely rice pudding for dinner again!

What is the matter with Mary Jane?

A.A. Milne


I just love this poem from A.A. Milne! I couldn't resist starting my post on Arroz Con Leche with this quote. Trust me, after one bite, all will be well with your world. For those of you wondering what Arroz Con Leche is, it's Rice Pudding. In this case, Cuban-Style. Or, as we are prone to say here in the South, rice puddin'.

I am really behind on posting this week! I wanted to share the recipe for the DREAMY Arroz Con Leche I made from Nathan's blog. It's Nathan's Grandma's recipe, so I promise you, it's out of this world! DC declared it is now his new FAVORITE dessert. (Whew!! I think we may be out of our apple rut!)

Here is what you need to make

Nathan's Grandma's Arroz Con Leche

2 c. short-grain white rice (such as arborio, CalRose, Valenica, etc.)
4 c. water
1/4-1/2 t. salt
Peel from 1 medium lime

2 cinnamon sticks
3 c. whole milk
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
1 14 oz. can sweetrened condensed milk
3/4 c. sugar
4-8 T. unsalted butter
1/2-1 cup raisins (optional)

1. Wash the rice well in several changes of water, until the water runs clear. Washing the rice gets rid of any excess starch that would make the rice sticky and gloppy, NOT what we want for our lovely rice puddin'. I couldn't find ANY regular short-grain rice at the Teeter, so I sprang for their expensive $4/box arborio rice. Because I KNEW this was going to be the world's BEST EVER rice pudding!

2. Place the rice, water, lime peel, salt, and cinnamon sticks in a large pot. Doesn't the pot look so pretty with its spiral of fragrant lime peel? The water looks cloudy here because I've sprayed the pan with non-stick spray, something I highly recommend you do.

3. Bring the rice to a boil, stirring. Cover and reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cook unil the rice absorbs all the water, 25-30 min.

Here we are, the rice is all done. Again, doesn't that lime peel look cool, how it's all curled up on top? Now that is a 4 qt. sauce pan. And I'm realizing, dude, this pan isn't big enough for all the milk too!
4. In a large bowl, combine the whole milk, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk and mix well. Since, when picking my puddin'-cookin' pan, I chose poorly, I ended up just putting my milk mixture into the new pan. Which I forgot to spray with non-stick spray. (So, naturally, my puddin' stuck.)

Ooooooh, here is the good stuff. As Nathan so astutely points out, if, oh, tragedy!! all your sweetened condensed milk doesn't come out of the can, just get a spoon and enjoy a little treat juuuuust for the chef. (I won't tell! :))

5. You're supposed to add the milk mixture to the rice pot, but I was afraid my pot was too small, so I added the rice the milk. It doesn't matter! Just combine them.

6. Bring the rice and milk mixture to a rolling boil, stirring frequently.
You'll be smart, unlike me, and will not get distracted, thereby letting your milk boil away unattended long enough for the pudding to stick to the pan.
7. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook the rice and milk for about 10 min.
8. Check to see if the rice is tender and is absorbing the milk. If so, add the 3/4 c. sugar, more, to taste.
OK, my lovely fellow cheffies: I can't stress this enough. DO NOT ADD THE SUGAR TO THE RICE UNTIL IT IS TENDER. If you add the sugar too soon, it will take the rice forever and a day to get tender. This is where many a rice pudding derails: right here with the sugar! Thanks to Nathan for the heads-up.
9. Cook the puddin' for about 5 more minutes.
10. Add the butter and the raisins, if desired, stirring until well-incorporated.
I have to tell you, I am officially a raisin-hater. But it appears I'm in good company, as Nathan reports that his dad and sister detest them as well. Now, Nathan is kind and sets aside some raisin-free pudding for them. I'd be more inclined to make everyone go raisinless, 'cause I'm just ornery. However, as I have no objection to dried black currants (Zante Currants), I went ahead and added some to the pan.
11. Remove from the heat. You can either dust the whole pan with cinnamon, or dust each individual serving with the cinnamon.

Nathan says you can eat your puddin' hot, warm, cold, or room temp.

We had ours warm with some cream poured on top. (Except, of course, DS didn't have any cream on his.) Of course, we waited several hours after dinner to have our dessert, so that we would still be able to walk! This is the most gloriously ethereal rice pudding in the world, but let's face it, as a desserts go, light it ain't!

I'm thinking maybe I'll have some cold for breakfast. :)

If you aren't a fan of rice pudding, I urge you to give this one a try! The lime peel adds a whole new slant to it, giving it a sort of exotic, floral taste. Then of course there is the magic that the 3 milk mixture brings to the pudding, making it smooth and rich.

You gotta try this! It's wonderful! So wonderful in fact, that THIS is what you will look like eating Nathan's Grandma's Fabulous Arroz Con Leche:

(This is DS, eating solid food for the first time. He's about 6 months old here.)

Nathan's Arroz Con Leche

Delicious rich, irresistible Cuban-style rice pudding

See Nathan's Arroz Con Leche on Key Ingredient.


  1. Adorable DS you have there. I have an award for you on my blogs newest post, please pick it up:) This banana pudding looks awesome, guess great minds think alike..

  2. I'm so glad you liked it :) ooooh heavy cream drizzled on top soooo sinful!

    Hehe I'm flattered, I never thought of my food as "exotic" :)

  3. Donna, thanks-- I agree he's adorable, but I am a little prejudiced! Apparently great minds do think alike ;)

    Nathan, the pudding was incredible! It is absolutely the best rice pudding I've ever tasted! I hope I didn't offend you by saying it was exotic-- I just meant that the lime flavor was unexpected.


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