Tuesdays With Dorie – Rice Pudding with Strawberries and Spiced Hibiscus Syrup

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I was excited to see Hibiscus as a major player in this week’s recipe. I live in Florida on Hibiscus Street, and need only to walk out my door to enjoy the lovely red, pink, and yellow Hibiscus bushes. When we first arrived here after a tiring cross country move, I stepped out of the truck to smell the ocean and the sweet smell of Hibiscus. I knew instantly I would be happy here.

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I did half consider picking some hibiscus flowers for this recipe but was not sure whether they would dry adequately in time. I wound up using Red Zinger tea instead, which worked out well. My mother used to drink it all the time (tea at 3:30 with Gram every afternoon!), but I only just realized it had Hibiscus in it. I was intoxicated by its ruby red color as it steeped. I definitely think the syrup really made the rice pudding. It had so much depth of flavor, and each of the steeping spices really stood out on its own.

There is not too much that you can do with any rice pudding recipe to make it substantively different from any other. I was interested to see that the only thickener was the starch from the rice (I used arborio). For a while I was worried that it would thicken up enough, but I “stayed with it” at Dorie’s urging. I usually make my Aunt Verna’s rice pudding which uses an egg/sugar slurry and sweetened condensed milk (plus a quart of whole milk (!) to thicken (it is SO good). I haven’t had rice pudding in quite some time, though this brought back many memories of all the time my mom made it for me… Dorie’s technique is similar to my mother’s. Of course Aunt Verna’s is rich enough to stand alone, whereas this delicious syrup really requires a less rich rice pudding to coordinate with it.

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12 Responses to Tuesdays With Dorie – Rice Pudding with Strawberries and Spiced Hibiscus Syrup

  1. This is a recipe I am not looking forward to I have to admit – NOT a fan of rice pudding though I am excited for the syrup!

    • Nicole @ The 2nd 35 Years says:

      The syrup is amazing. I was reading Margaret’s blog this morning, and her husband, who doesn’t like rice pudding, actually liked this one. Now don’t get me started on tapioca. ::shudder::

  2. Your photos look great. I really like the photo of the Hibiscus flower. I used the syrup with vanilla ice cream and it was very good.

  3. Love how you talked about your mom’s, aunt Verna’s and Dorie’s rice pudding. I could almost taste the differences in my mouth. Lovely post!

  4. Zosia says:

    What a pretty photo of the pudding. I have no frame of reference for rice pudding so it’s interesting to hear that it’s not as rich as some.

  5. Karen says:

    I love your photos of the hibiscus flowers! And your pudding looks delicious.

  6. Cakelaw says:

    Your dessert looks so pretty – it sings of summer.

  7. Your Aunt Verna’s version sounds good too, but I love how yours turned out – great photos!

  8. Teresa says:

    Hibiscus flowers are so gorgeous (and so delicious). I have lots of the syrup leftover and am enjoying it with Pellegrino on the hot(tish) days we’ve been having recently.

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