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Rice Pudding with Apricot Compote (Roz Bi Halib Wal Mishmish)

Claudia Roden

by Claudia Roden from Arabesque

A welcoming rice pudding recipe which is served with a dollop of apricot compote. The dessert is enhanced with a choice of floral orange blossom or rose water.

From the book

Claudia Roden


This is a moreish homely pudding. Topped by a fruit compote such as stewed apricots, it becomes elegant dinner party fare. It is also good served with the rose petal jam that you can buy in Middle Eastern stores. Gum mastic gives the pudding an intriguing, and to me, very delicious flavour, but it is optional. Serve the pudding cold.

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200g round Italian or pudding rice
350ml water
1l milk
150g sugar, or to taste
2 tbsp orange blossom or rose water
½ tsp pulverised gum mastic (optional)
For the apricot compote:
1kg apricots
400ml water
150g sugar
1 lemon


Boil the rice in the water for 8 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Add the milk and simmer over a very low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure that the bottom does not stick and burn.

When the rice is very soft and the milk not entirely absorbed, add the sugar and stir until dissolved. If it is a bit dry, add a little more milk. Add the orange blossom or rose water or a mix of the two and cook for a minute longer. Turn off the heat, sprinkle on the mastic (if using) and stir very well before pouring into a serving bowl. There should still be quite a bit of liquid. It will be absorbed as the pudding cools. The result should be creamy. Pour into a wide serving dish and chill in the refrigerator, covered with cling film.

For the apricot compote, wash, cut in half and stone the apricots. Put them into a large heavy-bottomed pan with the water, sugar and lemon juice. Cook, covered, over a low heat for 10 minutes or until the apricots fall apart. Let the fruit cool, then chill in the refrigerator before spreading over the rice pudding.

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