Arroz con Leche Creme Brulee and a Cause Close to my Heart

Everything about this post is very dear to my heart, starting with the arroz con leche and followed by the cause at hand. A few days ago, I visited one of my favorite blogs Make Life Sweeter. When I saw that Linda announced “Got Milk?”, a blogging event in support of World Breastfeeding Week, I knew I had to participate. I have been a bit absent from blogging events lately, but I really wanted to bake for this one.

I try to not to be too militant in my life. I want to keep my eyes and mind open to opinions and points of view, but breastfeeding and the lack of it in many countries (including my own) is an important subject to me. I believe in the bond that breastfeeding creates, in its health benefits and the de-sexualization of breastfeeding. This is not about confrontation or about criticizing those who do not breastfeed, but about raising awareness in our community of the important benefits of breastfeeding. I have found that here in the United States, many more mothers than I expected breastfeed, however, breastfeeding in public is not always accepted. I think it’s important to teach our communities how isolating it can be when a mother cannot breastfeed in public and it makes her feel like she is doing something wrong.

The premise of this event is to cook something with milk as the main ingredient. Of course, I immediately thought about arroz con leche and giving it a new twist by turning it into a creme brulee. I absolutely love the slightly caramelized milk when it’s reduced with the cinnamon and vanilla bean and then finished with crispy burnt sugar.

Arroz con Leche Milk Base

2 liters organic whole milk
100 grams sugar
100 grams Valencia rice or arborio rice
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, split
pinch of salt

In a large saucepan, heat the whole milk, the salt, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean. Heat the milk over medium heat stirring occasionally until it comes to a light boil. Add the sugar and the rice and reduce heat to medium low.

Cook stirring often for about an hour until the milk has reduced by almost half. We don’t want the milk to boil, just lightly simmer (some small bubbles are ok).

Strain the milk through a fine sieve reserving the milk and discarding the rice, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean. Save for another use, if desired.

Arroz con Leche Creme Brulee

1 liter of the rice cooking milk
10 organic egg yolks
50 grams sugar

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar. Temper in the hot milk and whick until combined. Strain this custard through a fine sieve. Pour into ramekins. Place the ramekins on a sheetpan and bring it to the oven. Once it is in the oven, pour some boiling water in the sheetpan to create a water bath. Bake the custard in a 300F oven until the center sets. The time will depend on the size of your ramekins but for a 4 oz ramekin, it will take approximately 30 minutes.

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45 Responses to “Arroz con Leche Creme Brulee and a Cause Close to my Heart”

  1. Christy says:

    Are those Marie biscuits in your photos?? I used to eat them a lot growing up..they had the exact same border pattern as the ones you used!! They are sooo good with milk…yum!!

    Such a beautiful post accompanied by stunning photos, and I especially love that last one!!

  2. morgana says:

    Lo pongas como lo pongas, el arroz con leche está buenísimo pero si encima lo acompañas de estas maravillosas fotos y le das una vuelta de tuerca como las que tú le das… Mmmmmmmm. ¡Qué rico!

  3. linda says:

    I totally agree on your thoughts on breastfeeding. Luckily feeding in public is not that much of an issue in the Netherlands compared to the US.
    As for the arroz con leche creme brulee, it’s funny but I have been wanting to make rice pudding creme brulee for ages but never did for lack of a blowtorch :(
    It must be so good with the crunchy caramelized sugar…yum!

    Thanks for your entry to Got Milk?
    I’ll be doing a round-up after August 7th.

  4. Mobula says:

    Opino como tu, no se porque las madres no quieren darle el pecho a sus niños, para mi ha sido de las dos experiencias más gratifivcnates en mi vida. He dejado de darles por tener que trabajar y en ambos casos me ha asaltado un remordimiento de conciencia…es tan rico y tan placentero!!!

    He descubierto Got Milk? gracias a ti, a ver si me pongo manos a la obra…

    Del arroz con leche y las fotos no te voy a decir nada, ya sabes lo que pienso!!!!!!!!!!!!

    recibiste mi correo???

    Besos enormes,


  5. What a beautiful post & words that ring so true! The biscuits are so familiar coz that’s about the only thing off your blog that we get here…vive la Marie!!

  6. Y says:

    A lovely dish, for a great cause. I’m just about to make rice pudding myself, believe it or not!

  7. Me encanta lo que has echo, porque son dos de mis postres preferidos, en uno! Seguro que con las galletas Maria está aun más rico! En Portugal es muy comun amamentar a los niños, yo pienso como tu. Oye, acabo de volver de Barcelona e de ver todas las pastelerias famosas, no veas las chuladas que vi!

  8. Anonymous says:

    oh aran!!

    i am drooling over here! you have combined my two favorite desserts into one!!i cant stop staring at the screen!! i’d like to place an advanced order for this and some delicious tortilla next time we get together. life doesnt get much better than that!!

  9. Camille says:

    Lovely dessert! Great photos! And, a well-written truth. It is criminal that women in this country are sexualized when nurturing and bonding with their children. Breastfeeding your child is a natural gift that is as miraculous as beautiful.

  10. Veron says:

    this looks delicious. I love anything with vanilla beans in it.

  11. Alexa says:

    I agree with you and it is a worthy cause. I see more and more women breastfeeding in the open and I think it’s wonderful. I see it as one of the greatest gifts a mother can give her child. On another note, your dessert looks delicious and those pictures are breathtaking.

  12. Great cause and great dessert! The photos just pop out at you! I love that you bruleed the top…so tasty!

  13. Anonymous says:

    I respectfully disagree that objecting to breastfeeding in public is linked to sexualizing it.

    And that those who promote it are somehow more “evolved” in their thinking.

    There are other functions of the body which when done in public are objectionable and which have nothing to do with sexualization. Why is this different?

    Somehow generations of children have been breastfed successfully in this country and it has been done in private. So what’s the problem???

  14. cindy* says:

    lovely aran! both your words and photos.

  15. Ginnypa says:

    When my daughter was born…39 years ago, I had health insurance, which I assume meant I wasn’t poor, they gave me a shot to dry up my milk…never asking or giving me the option of breast feeding…it’s one of my very few regrets…
    As far as breast feeding in public…who cares…you are feeding your baby…if it’s a bottle or a breast…what’s the difference…it’s nourishment..
    As for the Creme Brulee, YUM!!!!
    and I love those remekins…

  16. The creme brulee looks gorgeous!

    And people will always find something to complain about. . .so I don’t usually listen. ;)

  17. Cakelaw says:

    This is a beautiful looking dessert.

  18. Tartelette says:

    Yum! That’s all I got to say!! Combining my grandma’s favorite thing to make, rice pudding and mine, creme brulee….happy happy.

    Anonymous: I get your point,as a woman I don’t see a woman breastfeeding as a sexual situation but some men feel awkward around it…you know like in high school giggling at cheerleaders and their skirts flying high. I think what Aran was trying to say is that some stares are stronger than others and a woman might perceive them as slightly sexual, no matter how “non prude” a country claims to be. Sometimes there is no other way around than breastfeeding in public or slightly hidden from plainview. You can’t take away a mother’s feeling of being watched, yes it might be in her head but sometimes it’s not. For the record, I am not “defending” Aran’s views, she knows how to do it herself, just reacting to your comment, which is as valid as hers. The issue will always split populations I think.

  19. Aran says:


    I really didn’t want to make an issue of this. It was a post to celebrate something I believe in and my pastry blog is probably not the best forum for such discussions.

    Also, I never said that breastfeeding in public means to be “more evolved”.

    This being said, I do not think that bodily functions can be compared to breastfeeding. You would never point out a woman who is feeding a bottle to a baby but somehow a woman breastfeeding a baby is something different. Remember that women’s breasts were made to feed babies.

    Secondly, I tend to be as discrete as possible when breastfeeding in public, trying not to expose myself. But when I hear of women being asked to leave public parks, airplanes or restaurants, my heart goes out to them. They are only trying to feed their children.

    And finally, I would like to request of my readers to please sign your names when leaving comments. I love opening my blog to the world and I would never remove a comment regardless of how negative it is or how much you disagree with me, but I would ask of you to sign your name. I feel it is a bit disrespectful not to do so. I do not make money off this blog, this is my little corner of the world.

    Thank you.

  20. I think this is a creative and great way to demonstrate your support for a cause. In addition, this creme brulee looks amazing. I am always looking for a new way to make creme brulee, this is it. I will put my kitchen blow torch to good use.

  21. pea & pear says:

    ..And a lovely corner of the world it is too!!
    Can’t wait to make this one, it is perfect for our weather and also sure to score high points with the husband x

  22. Aran, I think you did an excellent thing here. Not only the dessert looks amazing – and it reminds of my mom – but you also raised the issue so beautifully.
    Even though I don’t have kids yet, I’m all for breastfeeding and I’m glad to know that here in Brazil women don’t need to hide to feed their babies!

  23. Jill says:

    You combined two of my favorite desserts here!!

    No one (including you) is advocating “whipping” anything out or being inappropriate. You have never been disrespectful of anyone else’s views either. It is simply about feeding your child. We should celebrate mothers and not make them feel ashamed or make them hide from people to do so. JILL

  24. This dessert looks delicious and I love that you combined the best of multiple favorites. As for breast feeding, agreed. Its funny that natural bodily functions are shunned here whereas some of the most gratuitous and unnatural violence is “normal” entertainment.

  25. TERESA says:

    Hola Aran :

    Que pinta tiene tu arroz con leche¡¡¡

    Sobre el tema de la lactancia, al menos en España parece que poquito a poco va siendo normal. Todas mis amigas han amamantado a sus hijos en sitios publicos, y ninguna ha tenido problemas por ello.
    Yo espero poder hacerlo algún día.
    Amamantar a tu hijo no es indecoroso, lo son los ojos que lo miran asi.

    Felicidades por tu post¡¡

  26. Cakespy says:

    Gorgeous recipe for a good cause. If this creme brulee can’t bring a revolution, I don’t know what will! :-)

  27. what a wonderful post–you are a great writer. When i was young my mum was a leader of a thing called La Leche League, which went around to give women resources for breastfeeding, so i’ve been around it my whole life, i think its a wonderful cause! go you.


  28. Aran says:

    Thank you everyone! I have been away for a whole week and now I am trying to catch up with comments and your blogs.

    I appreciate the words of encouragement. This post is meant to be a celebration and I wrote it with a positive attitude. So thank you very much!

  29. nadia says:

    Aran this recipe and the photographs that accompany them are beautiful. You have touched something that is very close to my heart, but i do not have children therefore my credibility on this subject might be questioned. I do have to say this though, whether in public or private too small of a majority of woman who breastfeed. I also believe that mothers not only feel that there shunned in public, but from what i have come to understand that there is also pressure from spouses, parents, family members and neighbors that contribute in the decison for a mother not to breastfeed….and they in turn make up the public at restaurants, on airplanes, in the park…

  30. Beautiful pictures and post. How did you stop from eating it all while you were shooting?

    I am a big believer in breastfeeding, and most of our friends are too. But some women are more shy about breastfeeding in public, even when they are covering up. It should be a more common practice – that way everyone feels comfortable doing it!

  31. yes we are a jesuit university!! wow good job. i agree with you though, i do very much love the jesuit edcation system and philosophy, and i am not even catholic, but i do feel very lucky to get such a good education. Wenatchee? oh yeah, Apples!

  32. I love how something so simple and elemental can look and taste so utterly and completely wonderful. This is one of those really satisfying desserts that everyone can love.

  33. Bravo Aran! Gorgeous dessert for a wonderful cause.

    btw – do you have your own chickens?

  34. A mí el arroz con leche me trae un montón de recuerdos con olor a canela.
    Qué maravilla de fotos nos enseñas siempre!
    Mil gracias

  35. kristine says:

    Thank you – your site has been an inspiration to me as I try to embrace my inner pastry chef. Thank you so much for speaking up for the cause of breastfeeding. It is indeed an incredible gift that should not be denied. I have a very conservative cousin who was already torn between breastfeeding for her child’s health and the sexual perception of breastfeeding in public. As she was feeding her baby (and totally covered up), a stranger walked up to her and told her she was being vulgar and crude. She stopped breastfeeding. So sad. Thanks again

  36. Aran says:

    Thank you everyone for your words. This really is something important to me because I believe it shapes how our children are raised.

    Kristine- My heart goes out to your cousin. What a terrible thing to go through. I remember when I had my son and I tried to breastfeed in public… It was awkward and I got many strange looks from people but I was able to continue because I had great friends around me encouraging me to do so.

  37. Aimée says:

    Aran- I love stopping by your corner of the world! Thanks for this sweet post and for your not-so “out there” comments about breastfeeding. I was sensitive with my first baby, but it does get easier to breastfeed in public. Still, I always have to have my guard up and my ‘so what?’ game face on.

  38. Dee says:

    Your pictures are stunning! And I really like the way you bruleed your rice pudding. Clever and delicious.

    I breastfed for 2 years, discretely and in public if necessary, but hardly ever saw another nursing mother. No one said anything about my nursing, but we’re conservative here in Malaysia so I guess people turned the other way.

    My own family (aunts, mother) weren’t especially encouraging. My aunt, a nurse, even went as far as saying that breastfeeding after 6 months wasn’t healthy for the baby.

  39. Aran says:

    Dee- Good for you! I cannot believe a nurse would say such things… crazy world!

  40. Di says:

    Your pictures are beautiful! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this important subject. I’ve been fortunate in that I never had a problem breastfeeding my daughters wherever I needed to.

  41. arroz con leche reminds me of days in my native mexico city… and my gradma stirring the pot… mmmmmhhh… to remember!!

  42. Mrs.French says:

    Amazing cause, so nice of you to participate…it looks amazing.

    I am happy to live in an area where breastfeeding in public is widely accepted. However, upon traveling to my home town I had a glimpse of what it is like to live in a community where this is not so acceptable in public, I felt self conscious…no woman should have to go through that….

  43. june2 says:

    Beautiful post, that brulee looks delicious in that square pot!

    Also, I love the way you made the connection to breastfeeding. I feel that women must discuss this in order to learn to stand up for themselves and their human right to – hello! feed the populace, haha.

    How incredible that anyone would object to such a basic inalienable right. It’s a sign of the sickness of modern culture. I hope discussions like this help to enlighten us all to the beauty of life!

  44. Marisol says:

    I’m inspired by your different arroz con leche recipes, especially because I began thinking about making a Cardamom & Cinnamon Arroz con leche or Arroz con leche Cheesecake a couple of weeks ago! I was wondering if you had any thoughts or advice for adding cardamom to the mix? Your blog is absolutely BEAUTIFUL, thank you!

  45. Marisol- you could add a little of bit of cardamom towards the end. i think that even a bit of a sprinkle on top at the end would be great as it’s intense.

    Thank you!

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