Out of the Oven… Granny Lála’s Rice Pudding

meCall me Manuel.

Hey guys, remember me? Its your Rare Lynx man in Portugal!

So…I hope you have had a nice week. Mine has been kind of hectic, but anyway I’ve manage to get some time to spend here with you all to show you one more great Portuguese  recipe. You’re special and you deserve the best!

Today I thought about something sweet and immediately this image came into my mind: Avó Lála (Granny Lála). Oh, you should have met Granny Lála because she is the most wonderful person and she puts so much love into her cooking.

$(KGrHqJ,!lgE-9KRpROuBP2PN2r0)g~~60_35Avó Lála is one of my best friends’ granny. Some years ago my friend invited me to spend a week at his parents house, in the extreme north region of Portugal called Minho, right next to Galicia, Spain, a six hour drive from my hometown of Évora. So, I went there and I spent a wonderful time with his family and, of course, Granny Lála. In her 80’s, there she was cooking everyday for everybody. Her sweets were unique! Once I asked her why her food in general and her sweets in particular were so special and taste like heaven and she answered me: “When you are cooking you never think bad thoughts and you always smile”. Well, how about that? Smile and Sugar….”it’s a kind of magic!”


Well, she used to make this rice pudding that would blow everybody’s minds out! The taste and texture were just devine. It was sweet and creamy, there was some saltiness in it and you just wanted to eat more and more of this amazing dessert.

I’m sure you are all curious now about this recipe, huh? It is in fact the most wonderful dessert ever. Anyway, I’m sure some of you are thinking: “Yeah, rice pudding. Who doesn’t know what rice pudding tastes like? How can you surprise me with rice pudding?”.

Alright! Stop saying “rice pudding” so many times! I’m accepting the challenge! I’m going to explain the recipe exactly as Granny Lála taught me, step by step. If you follow my instructions you will blow your family’s and friends minds!!!

Lets go, then…

Saffron Flor de SalIngredients:

  • ¾ cup arborio rice
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. Rare Lynx Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 4 cups whole milk plus 6 Tbsps.
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Rare Lynx  Saffron Flor de Sal
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 strip of fresh lemon zest 6 inches long by ½ inch wide
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 egg yolks, we used Liberty Farm free range eggs (these have beautiful deep rich yokes)
  • Ground cinnamon

Place 2 sauce pans on the stove top, 1 large and 1 medium. In the medium pan melt the butter, then add the olive oil. Sauté the rice in the butter and olive oil at medium heat until the rice turns transparent, about 2 minutes. Add the Saffron Flor de Sal. Do not brown the butter! Add the water to the rice and bring to a boil.

Beat the five egg yolks and add to it 4 tablespoons of cold whole milk just to make it more liquified. Mix it well. Let it sit, because we’re going to use it later in the end.

Meanwhile, place the 4 cups of milk, cinnamon stick, vanilla (see here how to use a vanilla bean), sugar and lemon zest in the large saucepan and bring to a slow boil.

Cook the rice for 20 minutes until mostly done – usually it is good when you see no more water and there are some bubbles coming out from holes in the rice. Keep stirring the milk mixture slowly.

Now that the rice is done add it to the slowly boiling milk and stir constantly for another 20 minutes, on low flame. Pay attention here to this step! Granny Lála never, ever stopped stirring, no matter what. The phone could ring, the house could be on fire, a tsunami could be near, but she kept stirring for 20 minutes non stop.

Its time to turn off the heat and cool to 175 degrees. Very slowly add the egg yolks mixed with the cold milk to the rice and milk mixture. Put it back on the very low flame. It’s very important to stir slowly and continually – stir to thicken the mixture but DO NOT OVER COOK the eggs into hard threads – so do not boil! When the mixture is the consistency of thick cream pour onto a serving platter and let cool for 5 minutes . Sprinkle the ground cinnamon to taste on top and refrigerate.

Please….just go to the kitchen now and try it! And don’t forget to smile!

I’ll be back soon with one more of my Rare Lynx recipes.

Greetings from the Rare Lynx man in Portugal! Bye!

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Posted in Out of the Oven, Recipes