This wonderful recipe comes from Joumana Accad, a chef who is an expert in her family’s traditional Lebanese cuisine.
For Joumana, the kitchen is where she celebrates the traditional dishes she remembers her teta (grandmother in Lebanese) making. Each dish reminds her of her family and brings back fond childhood memories of life with teta.
Of this pudding, she said, “There are myriad puddings in Lebanese cuisine and most are thickened with starch (corn or wheat) or flour (rice or wheat) and garnished with nuts. They have no eggs and have a creamy, delicious texture. Enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack in the afternoon (or as a homestyle dessert) your guests will love this exquisite treat.”
1/2 cup of sushi or Egyptian rice (or Arborio or any medium-grain rice
1 1/3 cup of water
1 1/3 cup of milk (or a mixture of milk and half-and-half or cream)
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon of rose water
1 teaspoon of orange blossom water
1/2 cup of chopped pistachios
2 cups of blackberry or cherry juice
1/4 cup of sugar
1 cup of blackberries
1 cup of raspberries or cherries
1/3 cup of cornstarch
To make the rice pudding:
1. Place the rice in a saucepan and cover it with water.
2. Bring to a boil and simmer gently until the water has almost evaporated.
3. Add the milk (or milk and cream mixture) and the sugar, stirring a bit to dissolve the sugar. Let the rice mixture simmer gently until the rice is soft, silky and the milk mixture has melded into a thick cream clinging to the rice. Add the rose and orange blossom and stir to combine. Add the pistachios and stir to combine evenly.
4. Transfer the rice pudding into a one-quart charlotte dish (spray the dish with butter first). Let it cool, cover and refrigerate.
To make the berry jelly:
1. Pour 1 1/2 cups of juice into a saucepan. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve over medium heat.
2. Take the remaining cup of juice and pour the cornstarch into it. Stir to dilute the cornstarch.
3. As soon as the steam starts to appear in the saucepan, add the cornstarch mixture and stir continually until the mixture thickens.
4. Add half the berries to the mixture and stir to distribute evenly.
5. Place the remaining berries on the surface of the rice pudding, covering it entirely. Pour the juice mixture gently over the berries. Let it cool and gel for several hours uncovered in the fridge, then cover until serving time.
6. When ready to serve, flip over the rice pudding onto a serving platter. Place a towel soaked in very hot water over the top of the dish to dislodge the rice pudding. You may need to help it by inserting a knife all around. Do this several times until the pudding pops out onto the platter. Garnish with extra berries and serve cold.