Family Recipe Friday: Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding)


Mmm…that feeling you get when “comfort food” takes you back.

Rice Pudding, also known in Spain and Latin America as
Arroz con Leche.  Courtesy Wikipedia; in the  public domain.

Having cooked for her family’s two hotels in Veracruz state in the 1920s and 30s and for her family of 13 every day for much of her life, my grandmother, Catalina (Perrotin) Huesca, knew how to make anything without a referring to a recipe.

I remember well several dishes she made inimitably:  her frijoles (refried beans), rice; chiles rellenos (stuffed green peppers), sopa de fideos (noodle soup), mole poblano (chicken in mole sauce), and enchiladas suizas (Swiss-style enchiladas in cream sauce).  The frijoles are unlike anything one can get in the United States; the tiny noodles in the sopa always seemed just right for a child to eat; and the chiles rellenos and the mole poblano are the dishes I tend to order when I want to test the authenticity of  a Mexican restaurant. 
Unlike my abuelita, I have to resort to a cookbook for most of the dishes I want to make.  The recipes are good, but truth be told, my results are nothing like hers.
Abuelita also made a delicious cinnamon rice pudding – arroz con leche. Some time after we had moved into a house of our own in Mexico City, our whole family – my parents and all four of us girls – came down with some awful virus that had the six of us bedridden for several days. My grandmother came to the rescue with her rice pudding. It tasted heavenly.  She said it would help us feel better, and she was right. 
I wish I had my grandmother’s exact recipe for rice pudding.  This is about as close as I have been able to come after all these years.  

Buen provecho!

Rice Pudding (Arroz con leche)

2 c. whole milk
1 c. medium grain rice
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp. vanilla 

Bring whole milk and cinnamon to boil and add rice.  Simmer for 20 minutes or until milk is nearly completely absorbed, stirring frequently to keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. 
Add sugar and sweetened condensed milk and reduce heat to medium low.  Add vanilla and cook for about three more minutes.  Remove from heat and add raisins, stirring to help them soften.  Sprinkle cinnamon on top before serving.


Copyright ©  2013  Linda Huesca Tully


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