Warm Rice Pudding with Caramelized Apples

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Just because it’s January doesn’t mean we’ve given up on sweets altogether; we’re just paying closer attention and wholly focused on the ones that matter. And when presented with a stunner like this, a dessert full of sweetened, aromatic rice and tart, warm apples, all of us at Eat Boutique pay attention. Don’t wait for the weekend, make this one tonight because, just because. Happy 2015! -Maggie

My grandmother, Gertrude, was an amazing cook. And my, did she have a sweet tooth! I remember her cooking a few savory dishes, like her famous chicken noodle soup and American chop suey (a baked mix of ground beef, tomato sauce, peppers and pasta). But what I remember most are the endless sweets she’d churn out of the kitchen near daily.

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Most notable were her grape-nut custard pudding and homemade apple sauce. There were also cookies, breads, macaroons… you name it, she made it. And if that wasn’t enough, she always kept jars of candy in the little sitting area at the front of the kitchen. She was my kind of grandmother.

This particular recipe is for an easy, stove top rice pudding, a dish that was also one of her favorites — I have several handwritten recipes as proof. And while this is my recipe, it evokes memories of her dishes I’ve had over all these years. Somehow recipes with such a strong association to family and memory makes them taste all the sweeter.

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The creamy, slightly chewy rice pudding is flecked with vanilla bean seeds and served with a warm, caramel apple topping. I love the way apples go slightly tart when cooked. They are the perfect accompaniment to the creamy pudding and sweet and buttery caramel sauce.

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You can use any apples for this. I used Winesap, which are a little tart and held together nicely during cooking. But feel free to use whatever you have in the kitchen. Apples are so delicious when cooked; with a little butter and sugar, you really can’t go wrong.

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Warm Rice Pudding with Caramel Apples

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

For the pudding
  • 3/4 cup arborio rice
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
For the caramel apples
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tart apples, thinly sliced or cut into thin wedges (about 1/4 inch)

Directions:

  1. Place the rice, milk, sugar, vanilla bean and scraped seeds into a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender (but retains a little bite) and the pudding has thickened, about 25 minutes. Stir in cream and remove from heat. Discard vanilla bean.
  2. Melt the butter and sugar in a large sauté pan, stirring to combine. Add the apples and cook until tender, a couple minutes per side.
  3. Serve the rice pudding warm with the caramel apples on top. Spoon any extra caramel sauce over the pudding and serve immediately.
Photos styled by Molly Shuster and Linda Xiao; taken by Linda Xiao.

Eat Boutique is an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista–shop girl, writer, author, and creative business coach. After hosting pop-up markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie is working to open her first permanent Eat Boutique–a food-retail concept space with a new way to the very best food–as well as coaching women in food to reach life and business goals. Her second cookbook, A New Way to Food: 100 Recipes to Encourage a Healthy Relationship with Food, Nourish Your Beautiful Body, and Celebrate Real Wellness for Life, will be published by Roost Books on February 5, 2019. 

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