Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Horchata Iced Latte

Have you ever had rice pudding and thought, I wonder what this would taste like liquefied? That to me is the Mexican drink horchata. Although liquefied rice pudding sounds strange, it has a delightful flavor.  This recipe comes with 3 warnings: 1) I've only tried horchata twice before attempting this recipe, both times at quick-service taquerias, so I cannot vouch for the authenticity of this recipe 2) It's probably not worth the blood, sweat, and tears to make 3) this recipe involves a lot of whining, but here we go.

I stumbled upon the idea of an horchata latte on another blog, unfortunately, I didn't bookmark it. The appeal of it surprised me, as I like my coffee to taste like coffee. I found a horchata recipe on the Food Network site. I followed the recipe close to the instructions, but I recommend some changes so that you don't tear your hair out.

Horchata Latte (makes 8 servings horchata, also recipe below for 1 serving latte)
  • 1 C rice, rinsed and drained;
  • 2 C skinless almonds;
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks;
  • 8 C water
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Grind the rice. The original author recommends grinding in a coffee grinder or spice grinder. If the rice is not completely dry, this is a fine way to royally mess up your grinder. After gunking up my coffee grinder, I used a mortar and pestle.  This worked pretty well, and it helped me get some frustration out from messing up my grinder:
2. In a large bowl, add the pulverised rice to the almonds and cinnamon sticks. The original author doesn't mention grinding the almonds, but to me this makes sense. I didn't, but if I make this again, I'll be sure to do this.
3. Pour 3 1/2 C water on the rice/almond mixture and let sit overnight. It'll look as appetizing as dishwater at this point:

4.Add to the mixture 1/2 C sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. I mixed up the order of the recipe here, it may become clear why in a moment.
5.Blend the rice mixture in a BLENDER. In SMALL BATCHES. Don't use a food processor. I did. I flooded my counter. Usually, my food processor does well with liquids, this time it leaked everywhere. I wound up adding fresh water back into the mixture, and keeping it overnight again. I had to unearth my blender, the first go around, the liquid spewed out of the top. Small batches worked fine, and I finally got this situation under control.
6. Put cheese cloth, a double layer, over a large pitcher. Carefully pour the mixture through the cheesecloth. I used clothespins to secure the cheesecloth, see below:
7. Once the liquid is poured through, carefully collect the edges of the cheesecloth and wring out the contents of the cheesecloth. If serving plain, serve over ice.
8. To Make an Iced Latte: Brew 1 C double strength coffee. Toss some ice in a glass, pour about 2 parts horchata to  1 part coffee. Use a cinnamon stick garnish if desired.

Verdict? Well, this was a lot of work. Truthfully, it would probably be better if I could have used it at original strength, not the strength after the whole food processor debacle. However, it is oddly refreshing. The horchata makes a fine dairy-free and soy-free coffee creamer. I also think it would work as an alternative to Irish cream or kaluha if combined with a bit of rum. If you have more success with this recipe, let me know!

Edit 08/28/2011: Now that I've cooled off from my original frustration from making horchata, as well as cooled off with a yummy glass of horchata, my perspective has changed. The horchata is tastier the next day, just make sure it's well mixed.

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