Rice Pudding is one of the staple desserts from my beautiful country Peru. It brings so many memories of my childhood.  I became a fan of this simple dessert when I was 12 years old. I remember going outside Lima (capital of Peru and the province I come from) for my cousins wedding.  We stayed at a local hotel in Chincha. (Chincha is south of Lima, about 2 1/2 hours).  Probably this was the biggest hotel in that small city filled with tradition and great food.  The name of the hotel was “El Sausal”.  I remember as if it was yesterday. I spent most of the afternoon playing in the pool with my cousin Ivan (my partner in crime and my buddy thru my entire childhood). My aunt Carmen (Ivan’s mother) bought us their homemade rice pudding.  It was the best rice pudding I had ever tried in my life! The creaminess and sweetness was incomparable! We had 3 rounds of rice pudding each…and we probably could have had more but we needed to get our acts together for the wedding :)

After that day all I wanted to do was be able to replicate that delicate recipe. And after years I was able to do it. I know you must be thinking rice pudding is really not a big deal. Many recipes, many variations, many flavor profiles…but I’m telling you once you try this one it will be a smile on every bite.  My sister in law Monica loves it with lemon peel since she was born and raised part of her life in Spain and for them it is a traditional with the lemon peel but in this recipe specifically I use orange peel. If you like a little more acidic flavor or to balance the sweetness a little more you can substitute my orange peel for lemon peel. Either way it will be delightful.

Sometimes I spend a lot of time trying to think outside the box,  creating new recipes or putting a twist on traditional ones but today my husband asked me to make one of his favorites and that’s why I’m sharing this rice pudding recipe with you.It is back to basics!
I love snow days like today…I get to relax, spend time with my family and I get dirty in the kitchen! I really hope you like this recipe as much as we do.

Carla’s Rice Pudding
1 cup of arborio rice
5 cups of water
2 cans of condensed milk
1 can of evaporated milk
1 tbsp of orange peel (or lemon)
2 tbsp of pure vanilla extract
3 cinnamon sticks
3 cloves
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup of raisins (previously soaked in water to get them soft)
Cinnamon powder
In a large pot put the 5 cups of water with the cinnamon sticks, cloves and citrus peel. Bring to a quick boil and add the arborio rice. Reduce heat to low and let the rice cook. When the rice has absorbed all the water it is ready. Please note that it has to cook at very low heat so it cooks all the way. You don’t want your rice “al dente” when it is about rice pudding ;)
Add the evaporated milk and bring to quick boil, add the 2 cans of condensed milk and start cooking at medium heat moving constantly with a wooden spoon to avoid sticking to the bottom of pot. Add the raisins and vanilla extract. Keep stirring. When the milks and everything starts getting together (about 5 minutes) add the beaten egg yolk. When you add it it has to be very slowly and the pit should be outside the heat to avoid the yolk to cook like scramble egg. The way I do it: I take a little of the milks from rice pudding cooking out to the bowl where I have the beaten egg yolk to temper the yolk. I whisk very fast until we’ll combined. Then I add that mixture to the entire rice pudding. The benefit doing this is that it’s easier to mix it and less risky. If your yolk cooked then it’s easier to replace it for a new one rather than make a whole new rice pudding, don’t you think?
The yolk is necessary because it is the element that makes the milks thicker and give consistency. After this process you just have to mix for another 5 minutes and it is done. Be devoted to your rice pudding…the string process is a main factor.