This Portuguese rice pudding recipe (arroz doce) is another one from Nelson’s book of traditions. It’s definately a favourite for him. He had this dessert many times while growing up–most memorably during his teen years living in the Azores.
Nelson describes how this is often served after the big feasts during the Holy Spirit festivals (Festas do Divino Espírito Santo) and the Saint John festival (Festa de São João) on the Island of Pico in the Azores. Having said that, he recalls that this dessert also made it’s way onto the table at many other times of the year.
As far as we know, the Holy Spirit celebrations date back to the 14th century when the poor would gather as a community to receive a meal, and gifts and food to take home. These traditions of sharing food are still maintained today across the Azores Islands–though it’s no longer just about serving the poor. The food, festivities and customs vary from island to island but the focus is always to celebrate the Holy Spirit and to share with one another. Nelson remembers these times of the year fondly. The town was full of energy; some people would decorate the church, the cultural centre, and the streets; others would be busy cooking big feasts; and, the philharmonic would be practicing to perform for the town’s guests. Click here to find out more about these celebrations, on the Azores Government website.
This is a simple dessert that’s made with only a few ingredients. We’ve seen this made in various ways; some add raisins; some use vanilla; others use only the egg yolk; and, I remember my mom making rice pudding in shallow dishes. Nelson considers it a true comfort food. I admit that rice pudding is not my favourite–I’m partial to chocolate–chocolate pudding, chocolate cake, chocolate cookies… you get the idea. But, Nelson always makes a large batch of this, so it would be rude not to help him, right ;-). Our kids don’t like the texture of rice in dessert, so they’re not big fans, but Nelson says they’ll figure out this goodness some day. In the meantime, more for us!
We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.
- 1 cup short grain white rice
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 cups milk
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tsp butter
- 3 eggs beaten
- 1.5 tbs lemon rind
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 tbs cinnamon powder
- Add rice and water to a medium or large pot and cook on medium high.
- Once the water starts to reduce (you should see very little water), mix with a wooden spoon.
- Add the milk, cinnamon stick and stir.
- Add the sugar and lemon and stir again.
- Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and add the butter and salt. Mix again.
- Leave the mixture on medium high to continue simmering. The mixture will eventually start to thicken quite a bit. This may take between 10 and 15 minutes. Mix occasionally to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom.
- Remove the cinnamon stick from the pot.
- Once the mixture thickens, pour 3 to 4 large spoons of the rice mixture onto the eggs and mix right away to avoid turning the eggs into scrambled eggs.
- Then add the egg mixture into the pot. Mix well.
- As soon as the rice reaches a gentle boil, remove the pot from the heat.
- Pour the rice mixture onto your favourite serving dish or individual ramekins.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon evenly over the rice pudding.
- Serve warm or refrigerate to serve cold... Nelson's favourite!
thanks Nelson to share your mom’s traditional version. I made it for me with soy milk and it was delicious. It is comfort food for me too, probably because my mom made it when I was young. So keep cooking it for Daniel and Michael! Thanks Liz for sharing the story behind the recipe, it make me feel like you are still next door!
Nelson Cardoso says
Thank you so much Catherine. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Take care.