I’m no stranger to tres leches cake nor am I a stranger to turning it into a delicious ice cream flavor (yes, ice cream). This Tres Leches Rice Pudding is a riff off of Deb Perelman‘s recipe from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. I topped it with some fresh whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry because that’s the way I love to eat my tres leches cakes. The best part isn’t the fact that it tastes *just* like the traditional cake, no the best thing is that it’s so much easier and faster to make. No need to turn on the oven, and since I prefer my rice pudding chilled, this is the perfect summer treat to make for when you want to cool down with a delicious sweet. This is the one to keep on hand this summer!
Let’s cook the rice first. Place the rice, water and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover tightly with lid, lower flame and cook until tender, about 18 to 20 minutes. Turn off the flame and do not open the lid. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
**Note: I like to use arborio rice whenever I make rice pudding because I find that it has the right texture and the perfect amount of starch in it. But if all you have is long or short grain white rice, that is okay too! They’ll do in a pinch.**
In a large saucepan, whisk together the egg, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and whole milk.
**Note: This is where the tres leches come into play. I’m using three traditional milks that are normally used for the cake, but you can also swap out the whole milk for coconut milk as well!**
Add in the cooked and rested rice and place over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the pudding as thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes.
**Note: It might seem like at the beginning it’ll never thicken up, but I guarantee you that the minute you walk away from it, it’ll happen and then it’ll burn and you’ll be so sad, so DO NOT walk away from it. Keep an eye on the pan and keep stirring because you don’t want it to stick to the bottom.**
Once the pudding is done, remove the pot from the heat and stir in vanilla, almond extract and butter until melted through and silky smooth.
**Note: The almond extract is the key ingredient that really give it that tres leches cake taste. I always add some to my cake when I make it, and so I thought it would be delicious in this cake as well. You want to be careful with almond extract though because it can be really strong in flavor if you over do it.
At this point you can either cool the pudding a bit and then store in the fridge until chilled through, or you can eat it warm. I actually prefer my rice pudding served cold. It’s best when made the night before and then served cold!
**Tip: If you do go the chilled route and find that your pudding has dried out a bit, you can stir in a bit more whole milk to loosen it up right before serving!**
Right before serving, you can make the fresh homemade whipped cream. You can’t have tres leches without whipped cream. Pour the heavy cream into a chilled bowl and add in the vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until soft peaks form.
**Tip: Keep an eye on your cream because a minute too long and you’ll end up with butter! If you do find yourself to have over-worked the cream and it’s turned a bit, you can bounce it back by adding a splash or two of cream and gently folding it in until the cream has loosened a bit.**
To serve, spoon the pudding into individual serving glasses and then top with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, multi-colored sprinkles and a maraschino cherry to really bring out that classic tres leches look and taste.
If you do serve the pudding warm, the whipped cream will begin to melt a bit and you can give it a stir to loosen up the pudding and it’s absolutely delicious this way. If you like it cold, like me, then you won’t have to worry about the cream melting in.
You can make the pudding ahead of time, and store it in the fridge, wrapped well in plastic or stored in an airtight container. It’ll keep in the fridge up for to 3 days. You can also make the whipped cream ahead of time and wrap as well. Keep them separate and then assemble the day you plan on serving!
This isn’t a low calorie dessert in the slightest, and so I’m warning you now that it is an over-the-top dessert. One you make when you’re craving something super sweet and you want a decadent dessert. I hope you’ll give it a try soon and be sure to let me know what you think below. As always, I’m here if you have any questions, comments or concerns. Stay safe my friends.
Tres Leches Rice Pudding
- 1 cup arborio or long grain white rice rinsed
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 2 cups water
- 1 large egg
- 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract divided
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons sprinkles
- 1/4 cup maraschino cherries for garnish
- Place the rice, water and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover tightly with lid, lower flame and cook until tender, about 18 to 20 minutes. Turn off the flame and do not open the lid. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- In a large saucepan, whisk together the egg, evaporated milk, condensed milk, and whole milk. Add in the rice and cook over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the pudding as thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla, almond extract and butter until melted through and silky smooth. At this point you can either cool the pudding a bit and then store in the fridge until chilled through, or you can eat it warm. Right before serving, beat the cream with the remaining vanilla and powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Spoon the pudding into serving glasses and top with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry. Enjoy!
This looks fun to make and I am a devotee of SK. I live out of US and not sure what I can gen in the tinned milk dept, I think it is sweetened condensed milk. What can I sub for 6he evaporated milk?
Thanks and lov3 your site.
I love this idea! Rice pudding is my favorite.
I’m no stranger to a tres leches cake either, nor am I a stranger to twists on this famous dessert (After all, culinary world is about inspiration and turning one recipe into a dozen of new creations.) This pudding looks and sounds phenomenally good. I need it to happen in my life soon. And tres leches oatmeal, too. And then bread pudding/french toasts. And then (obviously) your ice cream. Thanks for the idea and inspiration! 🙂
Brilliant take on my favorite cake!
Love rice pudding. I have a recipe that always uses arborio rice and agree that it makes a lovely rice pudding. I’m definitely trying this recipe. I especially like eating rice pudding for breakfast. Thanks for this.