This is an ideal way to use leftover white or brown rice. If you cook your rice with salt, omit the salt in the recipe ingredients. This simple, low-fat rice pudding is made Mid-Eastern/Mediterranean-style, simmered on the stove. An alternative calls for baking it in the oven. When baking, use the 2 1/2 cups of milk. The rice pudding can be served warm right from the stove or oven, at room temperature or cold. If you refrigerate the pudding, let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving. It can be reheated gently on the stovetop or in the microwave, covered, but you will probably need to add a little more milk. If you don’t have rose syrup, increase the sugar to 1/2 cup and use 1 tablespoon rosewater. SERVES 6
• 3 cups cooked rice
• Pinch salt
• About 1/3 cup cane, turbinado or demerara sugar
• 2 1/2 to 3 cups whole, 2 percent or almond milk
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/4 cup rose syrup
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Add rice, salt and sugar to 2 1/2 cups milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat, add cinnamon and rose syrup. Bring barely to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Depending upon how much the liquid cooks down, you may need to add the remaining 1/2 cup milk. The pudding will thicken some when it cools. Cool a spoonful, taste for sweetness and adjust if necessary.
2. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Spoon into individual ramekins or custard cups and serve at desired temperature.
Tip: As an alternative for baked rice pudding: Butter a 1 1/2- to 2-quart baking dish and preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine rice, milk, salt, sugar, cinnamon, rose syrup and vanilla extract, and stir well with a whisk. Transfer to the prepared dish and bake until thick (1 to 1 1/2 hours). The pudding will thicken as it cools. Remove from oven and serve in ramekins or pretty dessert dishes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Susan Belsinger loves immersing herself in all things herbal and looks forward to researching, growing, cooking and photographing each new Herb of the Year.