Spanish rice pudding: attempting to cook my grandma’s recipe
Recently, a reader messaged me with some feedback about the blog. His words were lovely, fueling and that day were the exact dose of motivation I needed. However, he pointed out something important: “There are no many desserts”. And he couldn’t be more right, to be honest.
At the beginning of my home cooking journey I focused mainly on sweet recipes. It was a sort of personal challenge, partly fostered by my partner (the biggest chocolate lover I have come across), and something that kept me busy during my unemployed days at the end of 2019. Time has gone and I have worked hard on different recipes, but it’s true that, so far, I have posted only one dessert. And because you all make Taste of Spain possible it is impossible not to listen you.
On Saturday I phoned my grandma to check on her after the eye operation she underwent the previous week. We talked about many other things and I took advantage of the moment to ask her for two recipes. One was her famous beans, rice and seafood stew-I will cook it, promised! The other, her rice pudding, the dessert I always ask for when I visit her. If you have watched my latest Instagram stories you probably have seen the paper notes I took following our conversation.
Whether at restaurants or households, rice pudding is a Spanish classic. It is a perfect lunch ending or even a nice merienda. The secret lies on how the milk is flavoured using different ingredients such citrus peels, sugar and cinnamon. And my nan, unlike most people, adds orange peel instead of lemon. It makes great difference since it is sweeter. Furthermore, you must use whole milk and paella or rissotto-type rice to achieve its singular creamy texture. Once you get everything it is just a matter of time, patience and continuous stirring.
By the way: my grandma is fine and in very good spirit now her sight has improved. Considering she lost my granddad weeks before the Spanish national lockdown it makes me very happy.
INGREDIENTS (SERVES 6-8 PORTIONS)
Whole milk (1 litre / 2 pints)
Paella / Arborio rice (200 g)
Sugar (100 g)
Orange peel (1)
Cinnamon stick (1)
Ground cinnamon for decorating
DIRECTIONS FOR COOKING
In a pot, add the milk, the orange peel, the cinnamon stick and the sugar. Stir and simmer at the lowest possible heat for about 10-15 minutes until the milk absorbs all the flavours. Be careful and do not bring it to boil.
2. Add the rice and cook for a minimum time of 30 minutes maintaining the low heat. Stir frequently every 2-3 minutes to avoid the rice sticking in the base. This will also gradually turn your pudding thicker.
3. After that time, try the grain to check its level of tenderness. It is likely it needs more cooking, so do it for an additional 5-10 minutes.
4. Turn the heat off, remove the cinnamon stick and the peel and serve in small recipients. Store in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.