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Friday, May 31, 2013

Paletas de Arroz con Leche #SummerOfThePopsicle

Paletas de Arroz con Leche (Rice Milk Popsicles)
It's no exaggeration when I tell you that we have a batch of leftover Arroz con Leche in the fridge at least twice a month.  At least.  It's my husband's favorite comfort food.  It's his go-to when he's rummaging through the fridge and the pantry and can't find anything to eat.

And really, I can't tell you how many times I looked at a container of leftover sweet, milky rice and thought about trying to make a batch of paletas with it.  And yet, it never happened.  I would put it off - which is ridiculous, because really, if the rice is already made, it takes no more than 5 minutes to put the mixture together and get it into the molds.  The longest part is the wait for them to freeze.

Paletas de Arroz con Leche (Rice Milk Popsicles)
So, when he made another batch earlier this week, I decided there was no time like the present.  Why, oh why, did I wait so long?  I love the creamy texture of the pops, and the way it is broken up by the unexpected (in a popsicle) addition of tender rice.  I really wanted to add a swirl of fruit, too...basically to mimic the dried fruit that I love to stir into my bowl of steaming arroz con leche.  I used strawberry this time, but I think I'll try cherry next time (since it's my favorite fruit to add to the hot stuff) - I think you could get away with any flavor you have around!

Paletas de Arroz con Leche
Paletas de Arroz con Leche (Rice Milk Popsicles)
Turn your leftover rice pudding into frozen treats by thinning it out and pouring into popsicle molds! Add a swirl of jam for extra color and flavor.
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by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 5 minutes + freezing time
Cook Time: varies (time enough to make some arroz con leche)
Keywords: snack dessert vegetarian milk rice popsicles Mexican summer

Ingredients (4 (2.5 ounce) paletas)
  • 1 cup cold, leftover Arroz con Leche (your favorite)
  • 1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream 
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • pinch of fine sea salt 
  • 1-2 tablespoons (or so) strawberry preserves
notes before you get started:
Okay, here's the thing - this is not so much a recipe, as it is a guide. It really depends on the leftover arroz con leche that you are using. If my husband is hungry and doesn't know what to eat, his go-to dish is Arroz con Leche. We have it more than I'd like to admit. Usually it just consists of him using whatever variety of rice, milk, and sweetener that we have around. He likes it best simple (ie...without dried fruit in it). I just used some of the leftover from his last batch to make these the first time.

If you don't have a specific recipe for arroz con leche, you could try this one, this one, or even this one for a bit of a twist. You can leave the dried fruit in a recipe, or leave it out - I'd probably leave it out for the paletas.

If your recipe already has cinnamon or vanilla in it, you may want to leave those out of this recipe. Or you could go with a different flavor profile all together (like the rosewater-scented pudding in the second link above). Also, you'll want to make sure your rice is sweet. Sweeter than you'd normally eat it warm, I'd say, as cold dulls flavors (the reason that I also recommend tasting the mixture while it is cold to determine what you want to add). So, once you've eaten what you've wanted of the warm arroz con leche, add a bit more of whatever sweetener you choose.

If your Arroz con Leche is not firm and thick after it's cold (if it's still liquidy), you will probably want to add less liquid to it. You're looking for a thick, yet pourable mix - nothing too runny.

Also, feel free to use any flavor of fruit preserves that you have hanging around.  Or even chunks of whole, sweet, ripe fruit.  You could also leave it out.  Up to you.

Getting down to it:
Stir the cold Arroz con Leche together with the half and half. Stir in the vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.

Heat the strawberry preserves for a few seconds in the microwave, just so it gets a bit runny. At this point, you can proceed one of two ways.
  1. Quickly swirl the preserves through the rice mixture and then pour into your popsicle molds.
  2. Pour half of the rice mixture into the popsicle molds, then drizzle the preserves over the top. Use a thin knife or a skewer the swirl in the preserves a bit before topping off the molds with the remaining rice mixture.
Freeze at least 4 hours, or until solid, adding the popsicle sticks at the correct time for your molds (I usually stick them in after 1 hour in the freezer).
Paletas de Arroz con Leche (Rice Milk Popsicles)

Summer of the Popsicle 2