This rice pudding by Donatella draws inspiration from the Italian Pastiera.
- 3/4 cups dried wheat berries
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup arborio or Carnaroli rice
- 1 vanilla bean, split, or 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup candied orange peel or citron, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons orange blossom water or orange or lemon extract
- Strips of candied orange peel, for garnish (optional)
- Bring a saucepan of water to a brisk simmer.
- Add the wheat berries and the bay leaf and cook until the grains are tender with just a little resistance at the center, about 45 minutes ( a few grains will have burst). Drain and set aside.
- Combine the milk, sugar, rice, vanilla bean halves, and cinnamon in large saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, about 25 minutes, until the mixture is very creamy and the rice is completely tender.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, if using. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Stir in 1/2 cup of the orange peel, the wheat berries, and orange blossom water.
- Garnish with the remaining orange peel and the candied vanilla bean.
- Serve warm or chilled. The pudding will thicken as it cools.
- Italian grocery stores carry jars of cooked wheat berries, which makes preparing this so much easier.