For the past several years I've been trying to write recipes for the dishes my suegra (mother-in-law) makes. She cooks by feel, which is great, except when trying to replicate what she has made. I've "mastered", or at least been able to recreate relatively well, her carne en chile negro (pork in black chile sauce), chiles rellenos (stuffed chiles) and enfrijoladas. Horchata, a Mexican rice-based drink, had eluded me though. Mine always seemed to turn out watery, until I discovered the secret ingredient, condensed milk.
To my disappointment, condensed milk turned horchata from what I had once thought of as a relatively healthy beverage into a sugar-laden drink. In this recipe, I substitute canned condensed milk for homemade condensed milk, which allows me to control the amount of sugar and the type of milk. Given my love for ice cream, I've also frozen the horchata into a granita. (Interestingly, granita parallels another Mexican treat, raspados.)
My husband loves it too! He says, "Me lleva a mi niñez. ¡Me encantaba arroz con leche!" (It takes me back to my childhood. I used to love rice pudding.) —Herstory of Food
Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Add to the bowl of a food processor or blender with the cinnamon and 1 cup of water. Blend until the rice is a coarse sand-like texture.
Transfer the rice mixture to an airtight container. Add 2 more cups water to the container and stir until combined. Let sit overnight or at least 6 hours.
Meanwhile, bring the milk to boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce to a simmer. Add the sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 40 minutes to an hour, or until mixture is reduced to about a third of its original volume, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Let cool to room temperature or refrigerate until ready to use.
Strain the rice mixture into a bowl. Then, strain the cooled milk mixture into the same bowl. Stir until combined and pour into a shallow container.
Place the container in the freezer for 1 hour or until the mixture starts to solidify along the edges. Rake the mixture with a fork and return to the freezer. Continue to rake the mixture every 30 minutes for 5 to 8 hours, depending on the temperature of your freezer, until it is entirely frozen and fluffy crystals have formed throughout.
Serve immediately or store for up to 2 weeks. (If the granita is stored and served later, remove the granita from the freezer and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Rake with a fork until fluffy and then serve.)