RICE PUDDING WITH PEAR COMPOTE

Simple and amazing. Milchreis (rice pudding) is one of those old time dishes that every German child eats at least once a week. I did. Even Hänsel and Gretel did, in the beautiful 1893 opera by Humperdinck. It is served warm in Germany and very often as a main dish, topped with cinnamon sugar and applesauce or canned cherries. It is incredibly easy to make. And the sweet velvety texture from the reduced milk and soft rice is very satisfying. I added a compote of pear and blueberries that could even be all grown up with a little shot of port. 

SERVES 4-6

For the Rice Pudding

  • 6 cups of whole milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup short grain rice (Arborio)

For the Pear Compote

  • 2 pears
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of port or apple juice
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

To make the rice pudding, pour the milk into a heavy medium sauce pan. Add the sugar and salt, do not stir, and bring the milk to a boil over medium high heat. Letting the sugar settle to the bottom of the pot and not stirring will help to prevent burning the milk. As soon as the milk is starting to boil, add the rice and whisk to prevent boiling over. Turn the heat to low and let the rice pudding simmer gently until the rice is soft and the pudding is thick and creamy, for one hour. Keep a close watch and stir occasionally to prevent the rice pudding from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. 

In the meantime make the pear compote. Peel and core the pears and slice into thin wedges. Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan. Add the sugar, lemon juice and zest and port wine or apple juice and simmer to reduce for 3-5 minutes. Add the pear and blueberries and gently simmer for another 2-3 minutes until the fruit is tender. This compote can be served warm or cold. 

Spoon the finished rice pudding into bowls. Serve warm, topped with pear compote and finish with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar. You can also let the rice pudding cool completely. Refrigerate, and it will still taste good the next day. 

SOURCE: ADAPTED FROM A FAMILY RECIPE AND KÜCHENGÖTTER GU

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