Desserts,  Recipes

Arborio Rice Pudding with Caramelized Apples

In keeping with the theme of Mother’s Day this week, I offer up the dessert I would be making my own mother to go along with this salad if she were in town this week. Rice pudding is one of her favorite desserts, but instead of having this with me on Sunday, she’s off gallivanting around the Italian countryside. Without me, I might add.

Most rice puddings are typically made with long grain rice. I made this one with arborio, a short grain rice with more starch in it, which is most often used to give the creamy texture to risotto. It also retains the character of the rice better and thus does not completely dissolve into mush when cooked.

The recipe for the pudding is really simple can be adapted to fit your needs and tastes. If you don’t want to take the time to make the caramelized apples (though I really suggest you do) you can easily add dried fruits like raisins or cherries near the end of the cooking process. If making this in the summer, I would suggest quickly sauteing up some sliced stone fruits like peaches, nectarines or plums with a little butter and pinch of brown sugar. It also lends itself to being served family style (see the bottom of the recipe for presentation ideas).

Are you cooking anything special for Mother’s Day? Let me know…

Arborio Rice Pudding with Caramelized Apples

Rice Pudding Recipe:

1 cup arborio rice (about 6 oz weight/180 g.)
6 cups milk
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a 2 quart, heavy bottomed pot, mix together the arborio rice, milk, and sugar. Bring to a simmer.  Stir frequently to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot and be careful not to let the milk boil over.
Cook until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes. When the rice is done, mix in the cinnamon and vanilla. Turn the heat off and allow to cool. The rice pudding with thicken a lot as it cools.

Recipe makes six 3/4 cup portions.
Option: If you want to add raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries or other fruit, instead of making the apples, add them in when you add the cinnamon and vanilla.

Caramelized Apples:

2 lbs apples (whole), peeled and sliced
2 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup + 1/2 cup apple juice (or water)
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Peel and slice the apples. In a large saute pan, melt 2 Tbsp. of the butter and add the sliced apples. Saute for 2 minutes and add the lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook for 5 more minutes over medium heat and then add the 1/4 cup of sugar and 3/4 cup apple juice.

Allow the liquid in the pan to reduce so that the apples begin to caramelize. Add the cinnamon. Keep the apples moving so they do not burn, and cook until they are browned and sticky. Add the last 1/2 cup of apple juice, stir and swirl in the last tablespoon of butter to loosen the apples and make a bit of a sauce for them.

Assemble the dessert:
I served this in glass dessert cups, putting about a tablespoon of the apple mix on the bottom, 3/4 of a cup of rice pudding in the middle, and then another couple tablespoons of apple mix on top. Another option would be to serve it “family style” in a baking dish with the caramelized apples on top (see photo below).



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