This is the prettiest dish of rice that I have ever seen. It is a dessert dish meant for a Cuban feast that the members of The Virtual Supper Club are sharing this month. When I first came across the recipe, I was a bit turned off, as I have never cared for the conventional rice pudding served by my grandmother and mother. But life's for experimenting, so I set aside my prejudice and made this jazzed up version ... and I'm very glad I did !!
This Cuban Caribbean version of a simply simmered rice pudding has some nice twists. The rice used is Arborio, which lends an ultra-silky consistency to the dessert. Now, think coconut milk, orange blossom honey, and lime juice and zest as the simmering liquid. The low-fat coconut milk makes the sauce around the rice so soft and creamy and the citrus elements perk the flavour wonderfully.
I added the golden raisins just before serving so that they would retain their chewiness and not become bloated little 'pops' of flavour. I also toasted plain dessicated coconut and added a bit more zest to the garnish. This was so delicious that I could eat the entire pan ... no kidding... but I won't.
Any leftovers will make a lovely little bowl of breakfast, warmed and drizzled with just a bit of milk ... yum!
Arroz con Dulce
Sweet Rice Pudding
2 c. water
1 tbsp. butter
¼ tsp. Kosher salt
1 stick (2 inches long) cinnamon
1 c. Arborio rice
2 ½ c. unsweetened coconut milk (lo-fat version)
4 tbsp. orange blossom honey
Zest of one lime plus several drops of lime juice
½ c. golden raisins
A scant tsp. vanilla extract
⅓ c. unsweetened desiccated coconut, toasted to a golden color
Lime or lemon leaves for garnish
Making the Dish:
- Place the water, butter, cinnamon stick, and salt in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Add the rice and stir it in well. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for about ten minutes, stirring frequently.
- When the water has become almost completely absorbed, add the coconut milk, lime zest and juice, and honey, stirring well to combine. Remove the cinnamon stick and discard.
- Reduce the heat to low and let this mixture bubble gently, stirring frequently until the rice is creamy and the sauce is smooth and velvety - about 15 - 20 minutes. The rice should have a bit of a bite left to it.
- While the rice pudding simmers, toast the coconut in a small dry fry pan over medium heat. Watch it carefully, it burns easily. When it’s golden, tip it onto a cool plate and set aside.
- When the consistency of the pudding is perfect, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and part of the raisins. Reserve some for garnish.
- Scoop the pudding into bowls and sprinkle on the toasted desiccated coconut, reserved raisins, and a bit more lime zest and a lemon or lime leaf.
- Serve immediately with small glasses of strong black coffee or a small glass of sweet dessert wine.
No Cuban feast would be complete without some rum ... right? My sentiments exactly!
Hence the Havana Loco !
2 oz. spiced white rum
½ c. fresh orange juice
4 drops honey
Place the chipped ice, orange juice and white rum in a cocktail shaker, drizzle in the honey and shake vigorously.
Pour into a highball or Collins glass and garnish with the orange slices, cherry and a citrus leaf for color.
So, there you have it dessert and a cool fruity cocktail to take you into the evening ... get out the Mambo Kings CD, crank it up, and do some dancing! Enjoy!
The rest of the menu for this month's Virtual Supper Club Cuban Feast looks to be delicious too! Click the links to see the rest of the recipes offered up!
Starters - Jerry's Cuban Black Bean Dip
Soup - Sandi's Chipotle Black Bean Soup
Main Dish - Sarah's Cuban Style Beef and Peppers
Side Dish - Val's Cuban Red Beans and Rice
Dessert - Susan's Arroz con Dulce
Cocktail - Susan's Havana Loco