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This Rice Pudding Is A Taste Of Christmas, And Of Childhood Memories

Jessica Meszaros, left, with her aunt, Josefina Ochoa. COURTESY: JESSICA MESZAROS

“So this is what my childhood tastes like.”

Reporter and Morning Edition host Jessica Meszaros tells Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham there’s something “extra” that goes into creating the rice pudding she remembers her aunt, Josefina Ochoa – also known as Tia Pepy – making since she was a child.

“Ever since I was growing up, she would come around on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, and she would have a Tupperware for us," Meszaros said. "She does that for everyone she knows. That’s her gift.”

Rice pudding
Jessica Meszaros recreates the rice pudding she remembers her aunt making since she was a child. JESSICA MESZAROS/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Rice Pudding recipe:

3 cups water

1/2 gallon whole milk

2 cups Valencia rice

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

3 cinnamon sticks

1 whole lime peel

Wash the rice

Boil water, rice, cinnamon sticks and lime peel until water levels out rice

Add rest of ingredients - milk, salt, sugar, vanilla and set to medium temperature

Stir for ONE HOUR - secret is to use the cooking spoon to hold some of the rice against the wall of the pot so the rice gets sticky and allows it to get thick and creamy. My aunt recommends using thick rubber gloves, elbow high for splash safety.

Remove cinnamon sticks and lime peel before serving and enjoy!

Since 2012, I’ve been a voice on public radio stations across Florida - in Miami, Fort Myers, and now Tampa.