Rice pudding is a winter comfort all over the globe. In Portugal, it’s called arroz doce and, in France, it’s known as riz au lait. This version, served with pomegranate syrup and pistachios, is very much a Middle Eastern variation. The trickle of the tart and sweet syrup is the perfect match for this creamy, cinnamon-spiked rice dessert.
- 1 litre milk
- 250 ml (1 cup) thickened cream
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 220 g short-grain rice
- ½ tsp rosewater (see Note)
- dried rose petals (see Note) (optional), chopped pistachios and pomegranate seeds, to serve
- 750 ml (3 cups) unsweetened pomegranate juice
- 55 g (¼ cup) caster sugar
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make the syrup, place all ingredients in a pan over medium heat and stir occasionally for 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 40 minutes or until reduced by two-thirds. Cool in pan.
Place milk, cream, sugar, vanilla bean and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium–high heat and bring to a simmer. Gradually add rice. Cook, stirring constantly, for 25 minutes or until rice is al dente and pudding is thickened. Discard vanilla bean. Remove from heat.
Stir rosewater and a pinch of sea salt into rice pudding, then spoon into bowls. Serve drizzled with pomegranate syrup and scattered with dried rose petals, if using, pistachios and pomegranate seeds.
• Rosewater is a musky flavouring that is made by distilling rose petals. It is available from Middle Eastern food shops and select supermarkets.
• Dried rose petals are available from specialist and Middle Eastern food shops.
Photography Chris Chen