Sponsored Post: Amarula Rice Pudding with Toasted Almonds


When it comes to food, the holidays–and by holidays, I mean the big three: Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas–are like rides at Disneyland: you almost always know what you’re going to get. That’s what makes them so comfortingly familiar. Alter the turkey, sub out the latke, or cancel the Christmas cookies and you’re looking for a world of trouble. So accept this holiday dessert despite whatever resistance you might feel; it’s my humble creation based on a bottle of Amarula, a cream liquer from South Africa, that I was sent in the mail. I took one sip and thought: “Rice pudding…with toasted almonds!”

Amarula has a toasted almond taste already with a hint of fruit. That fruit is the fruit of the African marula tree which, I suppose, is where Amarula gets its name. Here’s the bottle resting comfortably on my kitchen table:


Pretty quickly, I got to work. My favorite rice pudding recipe is Gale Gand’s; it’s so simple, you can memorize it right now: 1/2 cup Arborio rice, 4 cups whole milk, 1/4 cup of sugar. That’s it. Put all of that in a pot, turn up the heat, and when it starts to bubble, lower to a gentle simmer. See?


While that’s cooking, toast some sliced almonds in the oven. Just put them on a cookie sheet, stick in the oven, turn up the heat to 350 and watch them carefully. In 7 or 8 minutes, they’ll be golden brown and fragrant.


15 minutes into cooking the pudding, add some of the toasted almonds; this is less about texture and more about flavor. You’re basically infusing the milk with their toastyness.


At the 30 minute mark, your pudding will be really thick. Take it off the heat and here’s where we add the Amarula, just a Tablespoon.


Stir that in and taste. If you enjoy life’s simple pleasures you’ll be happy with the balance here; if you’re a less subtle sort, add another splash. I won’t tell.

To serve, pour the warm pudding into ramekins…


…and top with the remaining toasted almonds and a sprinkling of sea salt.


Pretty, right?

When I served this to my friend Diana, she had the idea to pour more Amarula on top:


I couldn’t stop her, so I copied her.


That’s a holiday treat so good maybe it should have its own holiday: Amarula Rice Pudding Day.

And did you know that Amarula works to help conserve African elephants? Through its partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society, $1 from each bottle of Amarula Cream sold is donated to help save the African elephant and its habitat. So if you love elephants, this is the dessert for you.

Happy (early) holidays!

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