Happy New Year! Rice Pudding with Pomegranate Syrup

Welcome 2010! To celebrate this day, I decided to make dinner with an array of lucky New Year dishes from all over the world. I got my inspiration from an article from Epicurious.com. We had thyme coated pork tenderloin, braised lentils with onions and spinach and rice pudding with pomegranate syrup (with an almond hidden in each serving for luck.) Of the three, the dessert was our favorite! Definitely a keeper to make again throughout the rest of the year. The original recipe was from Cooking Light magazine, and it can be found at MyRecipes.com. I followed the recipe pretty closely since it was already a lightened version of traditional rice pudding, but I changed a few little things to lighten it up even more. (For example, I used skim milk instead of 2% and I omitted the butter.)

Rice Pudding with Pomegranate Syrup

3 1/2 cups skim milk

1/2 cup uncooked Arborio rice, sushi rice or other short-grain rice

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 whole almonds

2 pomegranates

1/4 cup sugar

6 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

(Or you can cheat a tiny bit and replace one pomegranate fruit with a small bottle of pomegranate juice.)

Combine 3 cups of milk, rice and 1/3 cup of sugar in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Whisk 1/2 cup of milk and the egg. Gradually stir about one quarter of the warm rice mixture into the egg mixture. Add it all back to the pan, stirring constantly. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or until the rice is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla.

To prepare the syrup, squeeze the juice from the pomegranate halves to measure 1 cup. (Or use a bottle of juice.) Combine the juice and 1/4 cup of sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer until reduced to 1/3 cup, (about 20 minutes), stirring frequently.

Spoon the pudding into 6 individual dishes. (Martini glasses are an elegant presentation.) Drizzle the syrup evenly over the pudding, and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Also, don’t forget to hide an almond in them for luck in the New Year! 🙂

We also had the classic pairing for this day…sparkling wine. This year I chose cute little individual cans of Sofia Blanc de Blancs by Francis Ford Coppola Winery. They were a unique, economical and fun way to go.

Here’s to lots of luck in the New Year!

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