When I was a kid I lived in the city, but once a week we got a large milk delivery from the farm. The milk was raw and fresh. I remember we had to boil it ourselves and remove the excess of fat. One of the greatest treats of my childhood was eating the freshly skimmed cream of the raw milk mixed with sugar.
Since we got more milk than we could actually drink ourselves in a week, my grandmother used to make deserts with it. My favorite was rice with milk. However, at some point somebody decided that the few cows in the farm were too much of a hassle to maintain, the cows were sold, and our supply of raw milk ended. We tried to keep making the same recipes with pasteurized milk, but it was not the same. So, I spent years without enjoying this desert until I came to the US.
One of the nice things about living in California is that it’s legal to sell raw milk. Probably the most popular producer is Organic Pastures; I’ve found their products at the local coop, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they are also available at Nuggets, New Leaf or Whole Foods.
The remaining ingredients are easy to find:
- 8 cups of milk (64 fl oz)
- 1 cup of rice
- 1 cup of sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 1 lemon zest
- 2 cinnamon sticks
The preparation is very simple, but in order to get good results the key is to use the right ingredients. Raw milk is essential and the rice needs to be a starchy rice such as arborio.
- Put all the ingredients except the sugar in a large sauce pan and bring to boil. Stir constantly so that the rice doesn’t stick at the bottom.
- Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer during 15 minutes.
- Add the sugar and cook for 10 more minutes or until the rice is well done.
- Let it cool for a few hours and refrigerate.
It may seem that the rice has too much milk, but most of it will be absorbed as it cool downs and in the end it should have a creamy texture. By adding the sugar later the rice is boiled in milk and retains its natural flavor, in contrast with the sweetness of the condensed milk that surrounds it. If you prefer a more homogeneous sugary flavor, just add the sugar sooner.
Hmmm…. arroz con leche! One of my favorite deserts. I find it works best with short-grain rice too. Keep up the Spanish food recipes. I love to read about it :-)