Arroz con Leche with Horchata, Cinnamon Tuile, and Sesame Seeds

David Vargas

Vida Cantina - Portsmouth, NH

A contrast in textures and temperatures, David Vargas made this comforting, creamy dessert at his Beard House dinner.


4 servings



  • 1 cup rice, thoroughly rinsed
  • 3/4 cup whole blanched almonds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cups hot water
  • Agave syrup to taste 

Arroz con Leche:

  • 4 cups horchata
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 pinch salt

Cinnamon Tuile:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

To plate:

  • Ice cream (vanilla or rum raisin works best!)
  • Sesame seeds for garnish


Make the horchata: in a large bowl, combine the rice, almonds, cinnamon, and water. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, or overnight. In a food processor or blender, blend ingredients together in batches. Strain mixture using a fine mesh strainer and add agave syrup to taste.

Make the arroz con leche: put all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed pot. Bring up to a slow simmer and stir constantly to prevent scorching.  Cook until rice is cooked through, about 20 minutes. The pudding will be very thick. Add more horchata to thin it out. Add more agave to taste if desired.

Make the cinnamon tuile: preheat oven to 375°F. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter with brown sugar and corn syrup, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt until smooth.

Scoop the batter into heat safe container and let cool for 1 hour at room temperature. Place a baking silpat on a half sheet pan and spread batter evenly over the silpat. Bake the tuile in the middle of the oven for 4 to 6 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and cool cookie completely. Break cookie into desired shapes and set aside.

To plate: place the arroz con leche in a small bowl topped with a cinnamon tuile cookie. Serve with a scoop of ice cream and sprinkle with sesame seeds.