Friday, July 1, 2011

Strawberry Rice Pudding

For me, rice pudding is such a satisfying dessert. It’s rich and sugary but also quite hearty, always leaving me with that warm content feeling that comes after a special meal. I really enjoy this recipe, which is inspired by the recipe found in Diana Shaw’s, Almost Vegetarian. While I enjoy the flavor of strawberries, any berries would be perfect for this easy, make ahead dessert.

1 cup low-fat or nonfat strawberry yogurt
2 ½ cups low-fat or nonfat milk
Zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
½ cup Arborio rice
2 cups sliced strawberries
Fresh mint (for garnish)

At least a week before preparing the dish, make the vanilla sugar. Fill a sugar bowl with about 1 cup of sugar and bury 1 or 2 vanilla beans in the sugar. Let sit for several days.

Warm the milk in a saucepan over low heat and steep the extra fine lemon zest in it for about 10-15 minutes. Keep the milk just below a simmer.

Dissolve the sugar in the milk. Remove milk from heat.

Add the rice to a heavy saucepan and pour in enough of the hot milk to just cover the rice. Stir over low heat until the milk is absorbed. Continue adding warm milk and stirring until you’ve used all the milk and the rice is plump and chewy.

Take the risotto off the heat and let it cool, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the yogurt and strawberries.

Refrigerate for at least three hours, covered, until the dessert is well chilled throughout. Before serving, garnish each serving with a sprinkle of vanilla sugar and fresh mint leaves.
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