For a dessert with a fall feel, try this horchata-inspired rice pudding recipe, topped with candied bites of tender pumpkin. Pittsburgh Chef Joey Hilty calls his recipe “sweet, salty, and earthy all at the same time.”
Rice Pudding Recipe
3 cups water
1 cup medium- or long-grain white rice
2 tbsp unsalted butter
3 3-inch pieces orange rind from 1 orange
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup dark rum (optional)
- Bring water to boil over medium-high heat in medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in rice, 1 tablespoon butter, orange rind pieces, cinnamon sticks, and salt. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring from time to time, until most of the liquid is absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Stir in milk, sugar, dark brown sugar, raisins, and optional rum. Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to boil. Immediately reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring from time to time, until rice is thickened and tender, about 35 to 45 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Remove and discard orange rind pieces and cinnamon sticks. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Serve slightly warm with candied pumpkin and caramel.
Candied Pumpkin Recipe
1 pumpkin (4 to 5 lb) or other winter squash, such as butternut or sugar pumpkin
2 cones of piloncillo (mexican brown sugarcane) (8 oz ea)
1 orange, zested and juiced (about 2 tbsp zest and ¼ cup juice)
4 cinnamon sticks
- Cut pumpkin in half. Scoop out seeds and stringy flesh. Discard stringy flesh, and reserve seeds for another use, if desired. Cut pumpkin into 3-inch pieces; set aside.
- Add 8 cups water to medium-heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar cane cones. Bring water to boil, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Stir in orange juice, orange zest, and cinnamon sticks. Add reserved pumpkin pieces to sugar mixture; return sugar mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, without stirring, until pumpkin is completely tender and syrup seeps into flesh, about 30 minutes.
- Using large slotted spoon, transfer cooked pumpkin to serving tray. Cover with foil; set aside. Using slotted spoon, remove and discard cinnamon sticks and any loose pumpkin skins from liquid.
- Return liquid to boil over medium-high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, until liquid reduces to thick syrup that coats the back of spoon (about 3 cups), 25 to 30 minutes.
- Drizzle reserved pumpkin with syrup; Serve pumpkin warm, or at room temperature. Ladle reserved pumpkin into small serving bowl, drizzle with syrup, and serve with milk or ice cream.
Recipes by Joey Hilty, The Vandal / Photography Dave Bryce / Styling Keith Recker
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