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The argentine rice pudding (arroz con leche)

The Rice pudding is a traditional dessert from Argentina, even if it is also claimed by many other countries… A bit time consuming to make but it never misses to please everyone, and it might be seen as a healthier dessert when compared to other, often fattier, recipes.

There are many ways to make this dessert, even in Argentina! This even leads to heated discussions and disagreements on what is the “real” recipe for rice pudding... In the rice pudding recipe I explain here we cook the rice directly in milk, some people cook the rice first in water and then mix it with the milk. Some also like to wash the rice before cooking it in milk, then others will say that to wash the rice makes it lose its creaminess...


* 4 cups whole milk
* 1 and 1/4 cups short grain rice
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 2 cinnamon sticks
* Zest of one lemon
* More powdered cinnamon if desired to garnish


1) Pour the milk, vanilla extract and the sugar in a pot, with the lemon zest and the two cinnamon sticks. Put over the stove and set the heat to medium until the milk starts to boil.

2) Once the milk boils, add the rice and stir. Lower the heat setting to medium low temperature and let the rice simmer for 50-60 minutes. Do not go to far though, you need to keep stirring occasionally, more often as the rice takes up the milk and there is less liquid. When getting closer to the end of this process stir constantly or your rice will burn...

3) After 50 minutes, taste the rice; if ready, look to see how much milk is left in the pot. Note that if you just put the rice aside it will still absorb some milk, so if too much milk is left then continue cooking your rice pudding 10 more minutes or so, until just a little bit of liquid milk is left.

4) Turn off the heat, remove the lemon zest and the cinnamon sticks. Add the tablespoon of butter to the rice pudding and stir well until it melts and is blended with the rice.

Let stand for five minutes, then divide in the four bowls, for your four guests. Garnish by sprinkling more cinnamon to taste on top; if you like, you can also sprinkle some lemon zest…

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