Pumpkin Rice Pudding. You need the ultimate bowl of fall spice and pumpkin puree infused comfort. I got you, America. I got you.
‘Murica… You need some rice pudding.
Perhaps you’re in a state of shock. And believe me, I understand. I fell asleep around 1:30 AM acknowledging defeat and woke up less than three hours later in total disbelief.
And yet… As a person who likes to analyze the smack out of everything, I can see why and how this happened.
I grew up in poverty. I mentioned this many times before. We were poor. Welfare poor. The kind of poor which threatens the roof over your head, poor. And I did indeed lose the roof over my head once.
There is poverty in this country that far surpasses the poverty I grew up in. My husband and I were able to lift ourselves from poverty. And lifting yourself from poverty takes an equal level of resilience, opportunity, and fearlessness. It takes hustle. There are people in this country, however, who have yet to experience this. People in blue-collar rural areas, for example, are in a state of generational poverty I can’t even begin to fathom. Need a glimpse? Watch an episode of Cops.
Donald Trump swept in and articulated the sentiment of this America. Because from their vantage point, those divisive issues he rallied about were preventing America from becoming… Great. And America needed to be great in their eyes. It didn’t matter how racist this statement truly was or the implications of it.
He shook shit up like a fucking snow globe. He’s not a politician and Americans are fucking tired of politics, of filibusters, of a country that seems to only move forward for a selected few. And he was fighting politics, the system. It didn’t matter that he’s a billionaire and never experienced poverty in his life. It didn’t matter to them that he’s unqualified. It did not matter this man couldn’t possibly identify with the working poor or the dying middle class. This America ate it up, they showed up, and they VOTED.
And I have to say this – And you can hate me or stop reading my words if you so choose. The America who didn’t vote out of protest, or who refused to vote because they hated both candidates, or who threw their vote to an Independent out of spite – That America who couldn’t believe someone like Donald Trump could be President is far more divisive than the America who made the decision to vote FOR Donald Trump.
Now ain’t that some scary shit?
We could have picked any other time to be divisive. And now here we are. In our own little Brexit-style situation.
And it makes me so, so sick.
America… We have so much work to do.
But first… Comfort food.
I got you. Now flow with me… Let’s talk about this Pumpkin Spice Rice Pudding.
Alright. So rice pudding is a mega comfort food situation. It’s what I make my kids when they’re having a super rough day. It’s the one dish I think of when I need a hug. Rice pudding is a warm bowl of comfort. We’re hurting right now. We’re confused. We’re in shock. We’re broken. Divided. The future is uncertain. We need rice pudding.
Since we’re close to Thanksgiving, I went the Pumpkin Spice route. I have no regrets.
This Pumpkin Spice Rice Pudding begins by soaking rice in water, spices, and orange zest for about an hour.
Once the rice is infused the water is allowed to evaporate, adhering those delicious spices into each and every grain. Then the fun part begins. Milk is added – Whole, evaporated, sweetened condensed – Along with pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, salt, and raisins. Yes, raisins. Latinos love their raisins. This mixture is stirred and stirred until thickened.
Then it’s enjoyed warm. Warm because comfort is warm.
And right now, ‘Murica… We need it. So heal your wounds. Get over your shock. Come back. This happened. It is not a drill.
Let’s move on and get ready to fight the good fight.
Pumpkin Spice Rice Pudding (Arroz con Leche)
- Water - 4 cups
- White rice, preferably long grain - 1 cup
- cinnamon sticks - 4
- Orange zest - 1/2 teaspoon
- Ground cloves - 3/4 teaspoon
- Ground ginger - 3/4 teaspoon
- Freshly grated nutmeg - 3/4 teaspoon
- Ground cinnamon - 1/2 teaspoon
- whole milk - 2 cups
- Evaporated milk - 2 (12 ounce) cans
- Sweetened condensed milk - 1 (14-ounce) can
- Pumpkin puree - 2 cups
- Granulated sugar - 1/4 - 1/2 cup
- Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- Vanilla extract - 1 tablespoon
- Golden Raisins - 2/3 cup
In a heavy 8 quart saucepan, soak the rice, cinnamon sticks, orange zest, cloves, ginger and nutmeg in 4 cups of water for about 1 hour.
Once the rice has soaked bring the rice mixture to a boil over high heat, uncovered. Once it starts to boil, lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 12 to 15 more minutes or until water is almost evaporated. You should still see some moisture.
Add the pumpkin puree, the whole, evaporated, and condensed milks to the rice. Stir to incorporate and taste. Add sugar one tablespoon at a time, stir, and taste the mixture. Don't be tempted to add too much sugar or all the sugar. The rice pudding will get sweeter as it cooks and thickens. Also, the raisins contribute greatly to the overall sweetness of your rice pudding. Start with ¼ cup and add more once the mixture thickens if it’s not sweet enough for you.
Add the salt, vanilla extract and raisins to the pot and cook over low heat, stirring carefully until the mixture thickens and desired consistency has been reached, about 20-25 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and allow rice pudding to cool slightly. Portion into ½ cup serving dishes. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon, garnish with raisins, and enjoy!
Note 1: I eat my rice pudding while it’s still hot, but cold rice pudding is just as amazing.
Note 2: Rice pudding thickens as it cools, so if you like yours on the thinner side remove from the stove after about 15 minutes.
Rice pudding can be stored in the refrigerator for about 2-3 days.
Makes about 8-10 1/2 cup servings.