This week’s Project Pastry Queen item is Dulce de Leche Arborio Rice Pudding, hosted by Emily of Ruf Love. It’s a rich, creamy baked rice pudding infused with the delicious caramel flavor unique to dulce de leche. In The Pastry Queen, Rebecca Rather gives instructions for making your own dulce de leche, but if I did this again, I would buy the pre-made version from the grocery store. If you live in an area where that is not readily available, making it yourself is very easy, just a bit time consuming.
Literally translated, dulce de leche means “candy of milk” and it is made from slowly heating sweetened milk until the evaporated milk and sugar caramelize to form the thick, golden sweet mixture.
In Mexico, it is commonly called “cajeta” and is made from goat’s milk, and is equally delicious.
Dulce de Leche Arborio Rice Pudding
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup Arborio rice
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups milk
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 vanilla beans
1 cup slivered or sliced almonds
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1/3 cup dulce de leche (above)
To make the pudding:
Coat a 5 or 6 cup ovenproof casserole or souffle dish with cooking spray.
Remove the paper wrapper from the can of sweetened condensed milk. Use a can opener to make two small punctures in the top of the can. Set the can of milk in a medium saucepan (taller than the can of milk). Fill the saucepan with water to reach two-thirds of the way up the sides of the can. Cover the saucepan and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat until the water simmers and simmer the milk for 1 hour. Check the saucepan periodically, adding water to make sure the water level does not drop below halfway. A bit of milk may seep out of the small holes in the can. Cook until the milk pooled on top of the can has turned a deep golden brown. Remove the can from the simmering water using a pot holder or tongs. Carefully open the can and use a rubber spatula to spoon 1 cup of the cooked milk into a measuring cup (save the rest to use in the whipped cream topping).
Bring the rice and water to a boil in a 2-3 qt. saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the rice in a strainer or colander, pour back into the saucepan, and add milk. Cover and simmer the rice for 20-25 minutes, until the milk is absorbed. Remove from heat.
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Whisk the egg yolks and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Stir into cooked rice.
Use a sharp paring knife to split the vanilla beans lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and place into a 2-qt. saucepan. Add the cream, 1 cup dulce de leche, and vanilla bean pods and bring to a boil. Remove the vanilla bean pods.
Stir 1/2 cup hot cream mixture into the rice/egg yolk mixture to temper the egg yolks. Add another 1/2 cup and mix well. Slowly add the rest of the cream mixture to the rice, stirring to prevent the egg yolks from curdling.
Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top is browned and a toothpick stuck into the middle comes out almost clean. (The pudding may look a little wet on top.)
To make the garnish:
Arrange the almonds on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast them in the oven for 7 to 9 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant. Using a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream in a large bowl on high speed until soft peaks begin to form. Add 1/3 cup of the remaining dulce de leche and beat until incorporated. Serve the pudding warm or at room temperature, topped with a dollop of dulce de leche whipped cream and a generous sprinkling of toasted almonds.