I love browsing specialty food or grocery stores. There is a Mediterranean one we especially love to frequent. My favorite discoveries so far include labneh, za’atar, sumac, different kinds of flat breads and a variety of flavored syrups. Our favorite is sweet rose syrup. It reminds us of home and the simple days of childhood. If you’ve never had rose-flavored milk, you are missing out on some seriously good stuff.
To mix things up, we decided to try out a new flavor this time. So we came home with almond syrup. You know how sometimes, you have absolutely no idea what to expect when trying something new, wondering if you made a bad choice after all. Well, it seemed like we did… sort of! I didn’t know almond oil has a slightly bitter after-taste. I was expecting a gorgeous scent and sweetness along the lines of the rose syrup. Alas, it was not to be.
Almond flavoring is an acquired taste, it seems. Or maybe I was not using it right. I decided to try it like an extract and add a tiny bit to desserts for a subtle almond flavor. Let me tell you, I am a vanilla gal through and through. It wasn’t as easy as simply swapping out the vanilla for almond in everything. So I did some thinking and decided to start with a simple almond infused rice pudding.
Nothing fancy here. Just creamy, delicious, old-fashioned rice pudding. I used medium-grained white rice, whole milk, sweetened condensed milk and a few plump golden raisins.
I did not use any sweet spice like cinnamon, cardamom or nutmeg. Just a touch of the almond syrup towards the end for a mild, nutty flavor and scent. And of course, I topped it with chopped almonds.
It was absolutely delicious.
The grains of rice cooked to perfection, melded wonderfully with the milk, thickened and sweetened delicately.
Rice pudding is almost like Indian kheer, but definitely thicker with more rice than milk in it. Usually, a beaten egg is added for a custard-like texture, but I skipped it.
It is creamy goodness in a bowl. On to the recipe now.
ALMOND FLAVORED CREAMY RICE PUDDING
You will need:
- Rice – 1 cup, washed and drained
- Water – 1 1/2 cups
- Whole milk – 3 cups, divided
- Sweetened condensed milk – 1/2 cup or slightly less
- Salt – a pinch
- Butter – 1 tbsp
- Golden raisins – a small handful
- Almond extract or syrup – 1/2 – 1 tsp (depending on how strong the flavor is)
- Almonds – a small handful, chopped
- Gently boil the water and 1/2 cup milk in a deep pan. Add rice, turn heat to low, cover and cook the rice.
- When rice is cooked, add the rest of the milk and simmer for 20 minutes or so, till rice is very soft and pudding is thickened. Gently mash some of the rice with the back of a wooden spoon and mix well.
- Now add sweetened condensed milk as per your taste. (I added just under half cup, you can add more if you like a sweeter pudding). Add a pinch of salt, mix well and remove from heat if the consistency is to your liking. If it is runny, simmer for some more time. If it is too thick, add a few tablespoons of milk and heat thoroughly.
- Once done, mix in the almond extract or almond syrup. If you are using an extract, a little goes a long way and half a teaspoon will suffice. Always start with a small amount and work your way up.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan, fry the golden raisins till plumped and mix in the pudding.
- Garnish with chopped almonds and serve warm or chilled.
- You can add vanilla extract in place of almond extract/syrup. You can also add a touch of cinnamon or nutmeg powders if you like their flavor in rice pudding.
- For an Indian flavor, try a combination of cardamom powder and saffron to flavor the rice pudding. Also, use ghee instead of butter.
- I am sure this would be lovely flavored with rose syrup as well. Rose syrup will tint the rice pudding pink, so if you want to retain the white color, use edible rose-water.
Enjoy a tiny (or big!) bowl of warm, creamy goodness.
Tell me, have you tried something new and not liked it at first? Did you find any new ways to use it then? Do share.
I am taking this sweet treat to this week’s Fiesta Friday party at Angie’s space, The Novice Gardener.
I am also linking this up at these awesome blogs.
- A Blossoming Life
- Skip To My Lou
- Between Naps on the Porch
- Home Stories A To Z
- A Stroll Thru Life
- Cedar Hill Ranch
- Coastal Charm
- Elizabeth & Co
- House On The Way
- Savvy Southern Style
- The NY Melrose Family
- The Turquoise Home
- Living Well Spending Less
- Design Dining and Diapers
- The Shabby Nest
- French Country Cottage
- My Romantic Home
- The Charm of Home
- Thirty Handmade Days
- Crafts a la Mode
- Love of Family and Home
- DIY Show Off
- Nifty Thrifty Things
- By Stephanie Lynn