Orange-Scented Rice Pudding with Dates

This rice pudding is really easy to make and has a luscious, creamy flavor despite the fact that it contains no eggs. The rice is cooked in a combination of milk and orange juice and flavored with honey, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Once cooked we stir in vanilla yogurt, delicious Medjool dates and some toasted almonds. Be sure to check the recipe notes for flavor variations and information on Medjool dates.

Orange-Scented Rice Pudding with Dates
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  • Ingredients:
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1-3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 container (8-ounce) vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half or light cream (see variations below)
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1-1/2 cups dates, pitted and chopped (we used the Medjool variety - see notes)

Preparation:
Place the milk, orange juice and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in the vanilla extract, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Reduce the heat to low and add the rice. Cover and continue cooking until the rice is tender and nearly all the liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Melt the butter in a small pan, add the almonds and cook until barely toasted. Remove from the heat immediately and allow to cool.

Stir the yogurt and half-and-half into the rice pudding. Add the orange zest, dates and toasted almonds. Transfer to serving dishes, garnish with extra orange zest and freshly grated nutmeg. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Recipe Variations:
Orange Liqueur: If you'd like to add a splash of liqueur for extra zing, substitute 2 tablespoons of triple sec for some of the half-and-half.

Almond-Apricot: Substitute vanilla-flavored almond milk for the orange juice, use 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract in place of one of the teaspoons of vanilla, omit the orange zest and use dried apricots instead of dates. You can add a splash of amaretto as well.

About Medjool Dates:
Once known as the "fruit of kings," Medjool dates are large and plump with a creamy texture and rich, honey-like flavor.

Bard Valley Medjool Dates

The Bard Valley Growers Association is the largest producer of Medjool dates in the US. These growers are located in the Lower Colorado River Valley where the ideal climate conditions produce dates of truly exceptional quality.

Medjools can be found at many fine grocers and natural food stores or purchased online.

For recipes and more information about these delicious dates, visit the Bard Valley Growers Association website. Be sure to look for the recipe for Medjool Date and Caramelized Onion Flat Bread ~ it sounds terrific.

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