Arroz de Leche (Mexican Rice Pudding)
Makes 6 servings
- 1 vanilla bean, split in two
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 strips lime zest, ¾-inch wide
- 2 cups rice (do not use converted or instant)
- 1 litre homogenized milk
- ¾ cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 4 lg egg yolks
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup raisins
- 11/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
Bring 2 cups water to boil in a large heavy saucepan. Scrape half of the vanilla bean pulp into the water and add the pod. Add one cinnamon stick and one lime zest and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Pour in rice and let mix return to boil, stir once then cover and cook over medium low heat for 20 minutes, until all the liquid has evaporated and the rice is tender. Fluff up to loose rice.
Stir in milk, sugar and salt. Scrape off pulp from remaining vanilla bean and add to rice mixture with the pod; add remaining cinnamon stick and lime zest. Simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the liquid shows the first signs of thickening, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and remove the vanilla pods, cinnamon sticks and lime zest. Beat the egg yolks until runny, stir in the vanilla and a few tablespoons of the hot rice. , then stir the yolk mixture back into the rice mixture. Mix in half the raisins, then spoon the rice pudding into an 8-inch square baking dish.
Preheat the oven broiler. Dot the rice pudding with butter. Set the dish under the heat long enough to brown the top, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining raisins and the ground cinnamon. Serve warm or at room temperature.