So you don’t like the flavor of licorice…but what if I told you that this recipe actually makes it taste good…really good.
The secret (which isn’t really a secret) is to hide it in something you already like to eat. For example, I’ll mixing vegetables into mac & cheese, pizza, or smoothies.
Ouzo, the alcoholic anise powerhouse from Greece, is a drink I would guess not many Americans will enjoy. BUT I can assure you, you’ll like it as an ingredient in dessert. And everybody likes dessert.
My Mom came home with gorgeous plums from the farmer’s market and I knew I wanted to use them in this recipe. They’re tart and slightly sweet, which balances out the spicy punch Ouzo is known for. Once married together, you’ll get a hint a of licorice, enough to appreciate how its flavor actually enhances the dish.
This Ouzo-Plum compote is wonderful atop a classic Rizogalo (Greek Rice Pudding). But you can also use it on yogurt, pancakes, french toast, or even pork! Experiment with any fruit, but you might have to adjust the amount of Ouzo because some fruits won’t hold up to the intense flavor. I’ve also toyed with the idea of soaking raisins or cranberries in the Ouzo.
Mmm mmm! Wow…never thought I’d say that in reference to Licorice. My oh my, times do change.
~*~ RICE PUDDING with OUZO-PLUM COMPOTE ~*~
SERVES: 2-3 ⎪ DIFFICULTY : EASY | FUNK: CASUAL
Mise en Place
For the rice pudding:
1.5 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup long-grain white rice (basmati or jasmine)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the compote:
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons Ouzo, more to taste
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1. MAKE RICE PUDDING
In a small pot, combine the milk, heavy cream, sugar, rice, lemon zest, vanilla, and salt. Bring to medium-low heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender and mixture slightly thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
*NOTE* Don’t let it get too thick, because it will continue to thicken as it cools. If it does get too thick once cooled, you can stir in a little more milk.
2. MAKE PLUM COMPOTE
Halve the plums and remove the stones. Dice then place them in a small pot with lemon juice, Ouzo, and light brown sugar. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat and cook until the plums are tender and sauce is thick. Set aside and let cool.
Serve the rice pudding warm, room temperature, or cold. Top with the compote warm or chilled. Store extra compote in an air-tight container and keep in the fridge for up 2 weeks.
~*~ CHOCOLATE VARIATION ~*~
In Step 1, stir in 1/4 cup chocolate chips or 1 tablespoon cocoa powder after the pudding is slightly thickened and removed from the heat.
~*~ AUTUMN VARIATION ~*~
In Step 1, substitute lemon zest with orange zest and stir in 1 cinnamon stick. In Step 2, substitute lemon juice with orange juice.
~*~ VEGAN VARIATION ~*~
Substitute milk and cream with preferred dairy-free milks like almond, coconut, or oat.
How would you use Ouzo? Let me know what you’ve cooked and leave a comment below.