Rice Pudding with Fresh Pears and Honey

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With a snowstorm in progress this past Sunday morning, I set to work making pancakes while Larry headed out to shovel the driveway. At 33 weeks pregnant, I’m not much help these days when it comes to shoveling, but I’m still rather nimble in the kitchen. I was nearly finished making the batter when I realized I was missing one crucial ingredient: buttermilk. And there was no way either of us was about to navigate the yet-to-be-plowed, snow-filled roads. And so I switched course. I packed up the pancake mix for another day, and began making rice pudding with fresh pears and honey. Larry was surprised. You just happen to have ingredients on hand for another gourmet breakfast? Yes. Breakfast is a meal for which I’m always prepared.

The rice pudding is sweet—some might say it’s more dessert-like than breakfast appropriate, but I tend to like a sweeter breakfast. The sugar in the rice pudding combined with honey for serving is probably overkill, though—at least for breakfast. Next time I’d probably cut the sugar in half. I’ve just recently started using orange-flower water with cooking, and have become hooked. It doesn’t take much, and I’ve been amazed by how much it changes the flavor of whatever I’m making. The sliced pears and chopped pistachios also provide a nice texture contrast to the creamy rice pudding. It was the perfect breakfast for a Sunday morning snowstorm.

Rice Pudding with Fresh Pears and Honey (from Bon Appétit, September 2014; serves 6)

1 cup bomba or arborio rice (I used arborio)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
5 cups whole milk
½ cup sugar (I’d use 1/4 cup sugar next time)
½ teaspoon orange-flower water (I found this at Orange Tree Imports)
1 pear, sliced
⅓ cup chopped unsalted, roasted pistachios
Honey (for serving)

Bring rice, salt, and 1½ cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer until water is almost completely absorbed, 6–8 minutes. Add milk, return to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender and milk is thickened, 30–35 minutes. Add sugar and orange-flower water and cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute longer. Let cool slightly.

Serve rice pudding topped with sliced pear and chopped pistachios and drizzled with honey.

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