On one of my recent trips to New York City, I discovered Rice to Riches, a modern, Jetson-inspired store that serves only one thing – rice pudding. The gourmet rice pudding at Rice to Riches comes in 21 designer flavors with whimsical names such as Fluent in French Toast, Cinnamon Sling, and Sex, Drugs, and Rocky Road. There are a variety of toppings to choose from – toasted buttery pound cake, espresso crumble, toasted coconut, and graham crackers, to name a few. The bright, bold color scheme – orange, pink, yellow, and white – along with the irreverant slogans makes Rice to Riches a fun and kitcschy hangout. The rice pudding is served in the coolest custom-made plastic containers with long curved spoons. I loved those containers so much, I had to buy a pack of them. They are cool, aren’t they?
My absolute favorite rice pudding flavor at Rice to Riches is their creamy dreamy Man-Made Mascarpone with Cherries, a rich and filling pudding that is perfectly paired with tart cherries. The addition of the mascarpone is pure indulgence. Genius, really!! I scoured the internet hoping to find a recipe that would be close, and came across this one from Country Home Magazine which I adapted to my taste. As written, the original recipe was way too thick, so I had to make adjustments to make the resulting rice pudding as rich and creamy as the one at Rice to Riches. I also gave it more flavor by adding a good bit of ground cinnamon and a dash of both allspice and nutmeg. This turned out to be a pretty good snack, but I can’t wait to to get back to NYC next month for the real thing.
Mascarpone Rice Pudding with Dried Cherries
Yields 8 servings
1 1/4 cups arborio rice
2 cups water
3 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 3-inch pieces of stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, or to taste
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
Place arborio rice in a large saucepan. Add water to completely cover rice (about 2 cups). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle boil and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Drain rice, discarding the liquid.
In the same pan, combine the rice, milk, cream, sugar, stick cinnamon, ground spices, salt, and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes or until the rice is tender, stirring frequently. Remove cinnamon stick and stir in mascarpone cheese. Add dried cherries.
Adapted from a recipe found in CountryHome.com.