Puerto Rican Arroz con Leche

Arroz con Leche has long been one of my favorite desserts. This traditional Latin-style rice pudding is a bit looser than the classic pudding, and flavored with cinnamon and citrus zest.

Growing up, my dad would always order rice pudding at a local diner, and the two of us would share it for dessert. Neither one of us was a fan of the raisins, so we'd leave them on the side. In this version, I decided to skip the raisins in favor of rum-soaked cherries.

SO much better, and they add a sexy, almost ambrosial flavor to the final dish.

This simple recipe can be served warm straight from the stove, or cold in small pudding cups. It's ideal for entertaining, but I confess that it's the leftovers that make me most happy, since I can then enjoy them for breakfast while still in my pajamas, one spoonful at a time.

This recipe for arroz con leche is from my holiday eBook, The Puerto Rican Christmas Table, which features dozens of sweet and savory Latin holiday recipes perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and really any day of the year!

Click here to buy the eBook, and scroll down for the recipe.

Loved this recipe? Here are three other Latin holiday recipes you might like:

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Arroz con Leche
Serves 6-8

1 cup dried cherries
1 cup dark rum
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
1 teaspoon kosher salt
5 whole cloves
4 cups water
1 large egg
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Ground cinnamon, for serving

Combine cherries and rum in a small bowl and microwave 1 minute. Set aside and let soak while you prepare the pudding.

Combine rice, cinnamon, vanilla bean (if using), lemon zest, orange zest, salt, cloves, and water in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for 10 minutes or until water has mostly evaporated.

In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, milk, cream, sugar, and extracts. Pour into rice, and stir until combined. Let simmer on medium-low about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally just until it starts to thicken. (Note that pudding will continue to thicken as it cools, so err on the side of stopping sooner for the silkiest texture.)

Remove from heat, stir in the soaked and strained cherries. Let cool before chilling. Serve cold with a sprinkle of cinnamon as a garnish.


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