Sometimes the simplest things are best. I have tasted and tested several different versions of Cuban rice pudding. Some recipes are quite complex and include cream, milk, condensed milk, evaporated milk, and long periods of constant stirring and fussing. The best technique for making rice pudding I have found is the straightforward one suggested by chef and award-winning cookbook author Josefa “Jo” Gonzales-Hastings in her cookbook
This pudding recipe is adapted from Jo’s. For variety, I sometimes add raisins or pineapple to the pudding to give it a tropical touch.
In a saucepan, combine the milk, rice, sugar, cinnamon stick, and orange and lime zests. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until the milk comes to a slow boil. Cover and reduce the heat to very low. If you have a flame tamer, use it. Simmer the pudding, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened and the rice is very tender, about 1 hour. Stir in the vanilla and raisins or pineapple, if using. Serve the pudding warm or chilled, sprinkled lightly with ground cinnamon.
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