Key Lime Rice Pudding

Happy June. I like June–it is summer, but not yet the searing, blinding kind of summer. Just the happy, carefree, picnics-and-swimming kind of summer. Three cheers for summer!

This happy weather makes me want to do three things. Two of them are (1) sew, and (2) cook something really good to eat, full of flavor and freshness and light.

Well, rice pudding doesn’t quite fit all of those criteria, but I had a reason for it. I am planning to start packing my lunch for work pretty often, and I have all kinds of packed lunches planned out, one of which is a “Key West lunchbox” with spinach salad and fruit and grilled shrimp. What this lunch needed was key lime something and a little bit more carbohydrate. Hel-lo, wouldn’t some tiny key lime pie tarts be perfect? Yes, I thought so too. Unfortunately, tart shells are almost impossible to get, here. And I still have issues with the idea of cutting up a Pillsbury pie crust to make my own. And the tarts are unlikely to travel well in a lunchbox. Hmmmmm… problems problems.

Thus, somehow, I came to the conclusion that I needed to invent key lime rice pudding.

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One cup arborio rice

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One pint half-and-half. Set to cook on medium-low heat.

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Meanwhile, set to your key limes. What you see here is one bag of them, and I juiced them all. By the way–a citrus press is necessary for handling these because they’re so tiny. I have been told that garlic presses work like a charm, too, but only if you never ever use your key lime garlic press for garlic.

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Time warp!

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Just for good measure, because too much is never enough when it comes to limes, add the zest of one real lime to the juice.

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By this time, your rice should be very nearly cooked. Add all of the juice and zest to it, as well as one egg yolk. Stir madly until it’s all incorporated.

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Then add half a cup of sugar, or perhaps a little more to taste.

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Mmmmmm. Isn’t it pretty? I do miss the graham cracker crust, but all in all… this is good rice pudding. It’s nice and zingy and makes my mouth pucker. Maybe I can include some crushed-up graham crackers in my lunch box, to make up for the missing crust.

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Key lime rice pudding. You can, and you definitely should.

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