Arroz Con Leche Brulee

I don’t think I realized how delicious arroz con leche was until I was in Spain last month. We had SO MUCH of it there, and I didn’t come across a single version that I didn’t like. My favorite was definitely at El Ñeru, where they actually bruleed the top. Oddly enough, I actually own a creme brulee torch! (I think it was a christmas present from like high school.)

Anyways, I don’t usually make a lot of desserts at home, but I was set on making an arroz con leche brulee for a dinner I’m catering this weekend. So, I had to test out some recipes! I started with a recipe from Made in Spain by Jose Andres. The flavor was almost perfect, but the proportion of liquid to rice seemed way off. I had tons of leftover arroz con leche “milk” (which Matt happily made ice cream out of). Next, I tried a recipe from another one of my Spanish cookbooks. The rice/milk proportion was better, but it didn’t beat the flavor of the Jose Andres recipe. Finally, I decided to just modify his recipe. I used less liquid, slightly less sugar (the original was a little too sweet), and added some lemon peel. It worked!

As for the brulee-ing, I tried to use the broiler instead of a torch when mine ran out of butane, but it did not work. Unless your broiler is really strong, I think the sugar sinks into the rice before it can caramelize. At least that’s what happened to me. I finally went out and bought some more butane and that did the trick. It caramelized beautifully.

Arroz Con Leche Brulee
Adapted from Made in Spain by Jose Andres and scaled down to serve 2

1 3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup Bomba rice
1/4 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 inch piece of lemon rind (make sure it doesn’t have any white pith on it)
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar (this is less than the original recipe called for but it was still pretty sweet, so you could even use a little less)

Pour the milk and cream into a large pot. Add the vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, and lemon rind and bring to a boil over high heat. Make sure you stir it constantly so it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Once the milk boils, turn the heat to low and remove the cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, and lemon rind. Add the rice and simmer for around 40 minutes, but it might take a little longer depending on the type of rice you use. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom.

When the rice is cooked, remove it from the heat and stir in the butter. When it has melted in, add the sugar and mix well. Let it rest for 3-4 hours, or until completely cooled.

Divide the rice into serving dishes. We just used one big dish…

I found that I had to dust sugar on only a small part of it at a time so that the sugar didn’t sink in, like I mentioned earlier.

So I sprinkled sugar on one area at a time and torched.

It was pretty fun. And the results were delicious.

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