Layered orange and rice pudding

I had promised to post this layered orange and rice pudding on facebook a couple of days ago but every time I tried to finish the post something would come up. I am sorry for the delay.

Layered pudding is one of the traditional desserts in the Levantine cuisine, usually a combination of a fruit pudding that varies depending on the season and a milk or rice pudding  . For the fruit layer , traditionally oranges, clementines  or grapes are used but you can use any fruit you like that is in season. For the milk layer there are two secret ingredients that set this dessert apart from any other pudding : the mastic and the orange blossom water. Both ingredients are optional but they do elevate this to the next level.

My mother usually makes this dessert with milk pudding not rice pudding but about a week ago my friend Samah who writes the blog good cooks posted this recipe of a layered rice and orange pudding and I had to try it.You see,I have fond memories of my grandmother making rice pudding.She would cook this on cold rainy winter days, humming or telling stories as she cooked, she was a brilliant story teller.She had her own fairy tales woven with songs, joys, heart breaks and lessons. We would eagerly wait for the rice pudding to be done, enchanted by the smell of mastic and orange blossom water and when it was done we could hardly wait for it to cool down. A steamy bowl of pudding on a cold day while watching the rain is the very definition of comfort food. Up to this day, preparing this takes me back to my grandmother’s kitchen and puts a smile on my face.

Samah’s recipe did not disappoint, the pudding had the perfect consistency and balance of flavor. The only thing I would do differently next time is to double the orange layer.

Layered orange and rice pudding

1 1\2 cup Arborio rice or any short grain rice

3\4 cup water
3 cup milk
1\3 teaspoon mastic gum
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
1\4 cup granulated sugar
1 can (215 g) (7.6 ounces)Nestle table cream ( it’s kind of thick cream usually used for sweets, it’s thicker than the heavy whipping creme, but it can be replaced with it or with half the amount double cream”I used 125 ml double cream”. )

for the orange pudding

1 1\2 cup fresh orange juice
1\4 cup sugar
1 1\2 tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon orange water

Rinse the rice under cold water and put it in a sauce pan. Add the water and place it over medium heat, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 -20 min or until the rice has absorbed all the water and become very soft.

Pour in the milk , increase the heat to medium and bring back to boil, stirring occasionally. Cook for 5 min, then lower the heat and cook for another 10-15 min. Stirring the mixture to make sure that the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add in the sugar and cook for a few more minutes, still stirring. Add the orange blossom water, the mastic, and stir for another minute, finally add the cream stir for 2-3 minutes until thickened. It’s important to keep stirring while simmering to insure that the pudding will thicken.
If the pudding does not thicken (which is week chance if you stirred it well), just in a separate cup add 1 tablespoon corn starch to 3 tablespoon cold milk, stir it to dissolve the starch in the milk then add it gradually with continuous stirring to the rice pudding. stir well until thickening.

Take off the heat and pour into individual cups.

Prepare the orange pudding.

In a sauce pan, add the orange juice the corn starch and sugar, stir well until the starch dissolved.

put on medium heat, keep stirring until boil.

Lower the heat and simmer, keep stirring, cook for 5-10 minutes until it begins to thicken, add the orange rose-water, stir for more 2-3 minutes, then take it off the heat