Caramel Apple Rice Pudding


I found this recipe while looking online for caramel apple flavored desserts for our yearly Halloween party. Last year I made some amazing caramel apple cupcakes, but this year I wanted something more creamy... and these individual puddings were perfect!

Caramel Apple Rice Pudding (From Epicurious.com)
Serves 6

Pudding:
3 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
4 cups whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Caramel apples:
2 medium Gala or Fuji apples (13 to 14 ounces total)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup apple cider
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Preparation for pudding:
1. Bring 3 cups water and 1/4 teaspoon salt to boil in heavy large saucepan.
2. Add rice and boil 10 minutes.
3. Drain rice; discard cooking water. Rinse saucepan.
4. Combine milk and sugar in same saucepan; bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.
5. Add rice; reduce heat to medium and simmer until rice is very tender, most of milk is absorbed, and pudding is thickened but still creamy and reduced to scant 3 cups, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes.
6. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract.
7. Transfer rice pudding to medium bowl. Press plastic wrap onto surface of pudding; let pudding cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until cold. (Can be made 2 days ahead.)

For caramel apples:
1. Peel apples; quarter through stem end and remove core. Cut each apple quarter into 4 slices, then cut slices crosswise into thirds.
2. Combine sugar and lemon juice in medium nonstick skillet. Stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and syrup is medium amber color, occasionally swirling skillet, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Remove from heat; add butter to skillet and swirl until melted (mixture may bubble vigorously).
4. Return skillet to medium heat; add cider and pinch of salt and bring to boil.
5. Add apples and simmer until tender, stirring often, about 6 minutes.
6. Add 1/2 cup whipping cream and boil until sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes.
7. Transfer apples with caramel sauce to heatproof bowl. Cool caramel apples until lukewarm or room temperature. (Caramel apples can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Stir over medium heat until just warm before using.)

Assembly:1. Divide half of caramel apples among 6 Martini or other glasses.
2. Top each with rice pudding, dividing equally.
3. Top with remaining caramel apples, dividing equally.
4. Garnish each with dollop of whipped cream, if desired, and serve.

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