With triple-chocolate, caramel-drizzled cheesecakes and nut-studded, extra-fudgy cookie bars—who wants to waste a dessert splurge on something as basic as rice pudding? If you can temporarily block out the bakery bells and whistles, your taste buds will remind you: simple sweets sometimes really do hit the spot. Dial it back a few decades to a time when there were no cupcake cafes or gluten-free mini chocolate chips on store shelves. This elegant rice pudding is made with vanilla bean paste, pure maple syrup and silky almond milk. Make it flashy with a little fresh fruit, but really, every bite is tempting enough on its own.
Vanilla Bean & Almond Rice Pudding
¾ cup Arborio rice
¾ cup slivered almonds, blanched
1 cinnamon stick
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
½ tsp. salt
4 cups unsweetened almond milk (divided)
Optional: fresh fruit for garnish (blood oranges or berries)
- In large pot, combine rice, 3 cups almond milk and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook (uncovered) for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. After 10 minutes, reduce heat to low and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
- Take out cinnamon stick and add 1 cup almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla, almonds and sea salt. With heat on medium low, cook pudding for an additional 10 minutes or until thickened.
- Serve rice pudding warm or chilled, topped with fresh fruit.