I have been a big fan of rice pudding since I discovered it at Rice to Riches, in New York City. Sweet and creamy, it is one of my ultimate comfort foods. I love its versatility since it may be eaten warm, right out of the pan, or cold, after chilling in the fridge for an hour or so. Rice pudding makes a wonderful dessert, afternoon snack, or as a delicious alternate to oatmeal in the mornings. It is also easy to customize with a variety of spices and other flavorings. (For inspiration, check out the Rice to Riches website as they offer over 30 flavors!) Rice pudding is cooked in one of three ways: on the stove, in the oven, or in a crockpot. I prefer to cook mine on the stovetop because it is ready in about 30 minutes and has a softer and creamier consistency.I set out to make my favorite, Mascarpone Rice Pudding, but I saw the leftover pumpkin purée in the fridge and the rest, as they say, is history. This seasonal Pumpkin Rice Pudding is sweet, and full of flavor with the addition of orange zest and pumpkin pie spices. While I enjoyed eating it cold, I found that it was even better for breakfast, served warm and loaded with sliced apples, dried cranberries, and chopped walnuts. Yummy!!
Trust me when I tell you that this warm bowl of rice pudding is a nice way to start the day.
Pumpkin Rice Pudding
Yields 8 servings
For the Rice Pudding
1 1/4 cups arborio rice
2 cups water
5 cups milk (I used low-fat milk)
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin purée
2 to 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground allspice, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, or to taste
zest of one large orange, grated
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Toppings
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup walmuts, lightly toasted and chopped
1/2 apple, thinly sliced
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 liquid.
In the same pan, combine the rice, milk, brown sugar, pumpkin purée, ground spices, orange zest, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Add vanilla extract. Simmer, uncovered, for about 33 to 35 minutes or until the rice is tender, stirring frequently.
Serve warm or at room temperature, topped with dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, and apple slices.
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