A signature rice recipe of notable Latin American chef Maricel Presilla creates a richly delicious addition to any menu. It is her own idea of what a good rice pudding should taste and feel like—perfumed and sensuous, with the grains of rice almost melting into the matrix of the scented milk. Reprinted with permission from "The New Taste of Chocolate" by Maricel Presilla, Published by Ten Speed Press. Photographer: Frankie Frankeny.
- Place the achiote seeds in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with the water. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and set aside.
- Meanwhile, rinse the rice under cold running water until the water runs clear. Set aside to drain well in a sieve or colander. Tie the aniseeds, allspice, cinnamon sticks, and dried chile in a piece of cheesecloth.
- Pour the reserved achiote water into a heavy-bottomed 5- or 6-quart saucepan. Add the drained rice, spice bouquet, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, uncovered, until the rice is soft, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Stir in the whole milk and condensed milk. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon to mix evenly as it melts. Cook, uncovered, for another 40 minutes, stirring occasionally; it should be very creamy but not dry. Halfway through the cooking, split the vanilla beans lengthwise with a small sharp knife and scrape the seeds into the mixture. Add the scraped beans and stir to mix well.
- When the pudding is done but still a little loose-textured, remove and discard the spice bouquet and vanilla beans. Pour into a serving dish, dust lightly with the ground cinnamon, and serve warm or at room temperature.