It wasn’t until years later that I learned the leaves are poisonous—she never mentioned that, not once. I’m guessing she didn’t think children would be evenly remotely interested in eating anything green and leafy—and she was right, we never did.
The lilacs are blooming which also reminds me of her hedgerow that spilled over with fragrant purple and white blossoms. I cut two enormous bunches from my neighbor’s yard and am going to go back later for a third. It has only been a couple of hours since I brought them in the house but the scent has already permeated every corner, pushing out all that stale winter air.
My Grandma was more of a pie lady so I don’t know why I made rice pudding other than it is comfort food at it’s finest and all this reminiscing has got me a little sad. I especially love this version because it bakes in the oven, no need to sit over the stove, stirring and praying that nothing burns.
The rhubarb sauce is on the sour side which is a good thing because the rice pudding boarders on maybe too sweet. Which just means they go together perfectly. Happy Spring! xo
The rice pudding can be served hot, warm, or cold; it will get thicker as it cools. The sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator until ready to use. If you have any Canela, those oversized soft Mexican cinnamon sticks, this is the place to use it.
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup long grain rice
- 1 large cinnamon stick or Canela (Mexican cinnamon)
- 1 large strip orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
- Combine all the ingredients in a 2 quart baking dish. Cover with parchment paper and then foil. Bake for 1 hour. Remove parchment and foil and stir. Bake uncovered for 1 hour more or until rice is tender. The pudding will get thicker as it cools.
- For the rhubarb sauce, combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook gently, stirring occasionally until rhubarb is tender and sauce is thickened.