Rice Pudding with Poached Rhubarb

This vanilla-flecked rice pudding is exceptionally easy and exceptionally delicious, thanks to the tangy rhubarb. Krista Desjarlais, the chef-owner of Bresca in Portland, Maine, gently poaches the stalks in red wine, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon. Perfect on the pudding, the rhubarb would be equally good with Greek yogurt.


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  • Servings: 8

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rice pudding
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
  • 3/4 cup sugar
poached rhubarb
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup dry red wine or rosé
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
  • 1 pound rhubarb, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • Small mint leaves, for garnish

How to make this recipe

  1. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the rice and cook over high heat for 3 minutes. Drain the rice and return it to the saucepan. Add the milk, cream, vanilla bean and seeds. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat until the rice is very tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in the sugar and remove from the heat. Discard the vanilla bean. Scrape the pudding into a 9-by-13-inch glass dish, press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding and refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours.

  2. In a large saucepan, combine the water with the sugar, wine, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean and seeds. Bring to a simmer and cook over moderate heat for 10 minutes. Add the rhubarb and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Pour the rhubarb and its poaching liquid into a glass or plastic bowl and refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours.

  3. Spoon the rice pudding into bowls. Using a slotted spoon, top with some of the rhubarb. Sprinkle with mint leaves and serve.

Make Ahead

The rice pudding and poached rhubarb in its liquid can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Contributed By Photo © Con Poulos Published May 2009

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