Friday, March 29, 2013


Cinnamon and lemon flavor springtime rice pudding.

In Spain, the days of Holy Week leading up to Easter are marked by vigilia, abstinence, when observant Catholics abstain from eating meat. But, adding a touch of sweetness to the season are several milk puddings, such as flan (recipe ); natillas, a creamy custard, and arroz con leche, milky rice pudding.

Milk puddings are typical for the season because in the springtime dairy animals are producing plenty of milk. In Asturias (northern Spain), rice pudding is made with cow’s milk and enriched with butter or cream. It is the dessert de rigueur following fabada beans (recipe ). In Andalusia (southern Spain), where I live, rice pudding is traditionally made with goat’s milk. 

Cinnamon stick and lemon peel flavor the milk. The pudding is sprinkled with additional ground cinnamon after it is ladled into bowls.

Use medium-short grain rice—the same Valencia rice used for paella—to make the pudding. Let it cook until very tender.

Arroz con Leche
Milky Rice Pudding

Serves 4.

4 cups water
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup medium-grain rice
4 cups milk
Peel from 1 lemon
1 cinnamon stick
½ cup sugar
Ground cinnamon

Bring the water and salt to a boil in a heavy pan. Add the rice and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the rice.

Place the milk, lemon peel and cinnamon stick in the pan. When it begins to bubble (take care the milk does not boil over), stir in the par-boiled rice. Reduce heat so the rice simmers. Cook, partially covered, 12 minutes.

Stir in the sugar. Let rice simmer, uncovered, until thick and creamy, about 15 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent the milk from scorching (a heat diffusor is useful). Discard the lemon peel and cinnamon stick.

Ladle hot pudding into 4 bowls. Sprinkle liberally with ground cinnamon. Allow to cool, then refrigerate until serving time. The pudding will thicken as it cools.


  1. Feliz Pascuas, Janet. My cordero is not happy today but be sure, it will succumb! Gathering of 12 tomorrow in Connecticut to celebrate Easter a la Espana! How I wish my keyboard had the proper "n". Hope all is well with you.... told my family about your blog and they are oohing and aahing at your photos.... English is not their forte and Google Translator does a dandy job of botching it up! I am glad broccoli is trending. It's about time! Fabulous vegetable, sadly underestimate. Brinde to you and yours!

    1. Wendy: Feliz Pascua to you and family. Have a wonderful celebration in CT.

  2. P.S. - The Crema Catalan came out perfectly and looks beautiful in the bowls!

    1. Wendy: you're making Crema Catalan? I'll have to make it to blog sometime. Some people caramelize the tops of arroz con leche, as well.