When your heart is broken, this rice pudding might be just the thing

Red bowl with rice pudding in it.

One of the tougher break-ups I’ve endured was with a person who was from Cleveland. And somehow, whenever I visited them for the short burst of our relationship, I heard old Tracy Chapman on the car radio. Tracy Chapman is also from Cleveland. Anyway, things didn’t work out, but for months after, it was like Tracy Chapman was taunting me. Grocery store. “Fast Car” on the Muzak. On hold with an airline? Oh, what’s that? Tracy Chapman. On an actual plane? “Oh, I gotta run, run, run, run, run, run, run, ruuu-un.” And there I was crying into my butter pretzel twists. Anyway, I share this specifically for the tender hearts out there. Listen: it gets better, I promise. Someday you will be able to enter a Walgreens without fear of Tracy Chapman. In the meantime, I want you to make this perfect, silky, spicy rice pudding with boozy fruit and eat it warm. Trust me. It helps. And it’s highly likely, too, that you’ll eventually make it for someone else. Right now, maybe you make a half recipe, which makes one big bowl. It requires some stirring time, but that’s cool. We can all use a little time to think about what we want to manifest next.

Rice Pudding For a Broken Heart

Serves 3, generously


  • ½ cup mixture of dried fruit: golden raisins, craisins, raisins, dried sour cherries, and dried blueberries
  • ⅓ cup Shanky’s Whip liqueur (or bourbon, or rye)
  • 1½ cups half and half
  • 2½ cups whole milk
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup basmati rice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla or 1 split vanilla bean
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • Zest of ½ orange


In a microwavable bowl, combine alcohol and fruit. Microwave 1 minute on high. Set aside.

In a thick-bottomed saucepan, combine half and half, milk, sugar, rice, vanilla, cinnamon stick, cardamom, and orange zest. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, and immediately reduce to medium, maintaining gentle simmer. Stir, scraping sides of the pan, for about 35 minutes. Drain the alcohol from the now-boozy fruit and add the fruit to the pan, stirring the rice pudding for a few minutes more, until the rice is no longer toothsome. Fish out cinnamon stick and vanilla pod (if using) and make an attempt to pull out the cardamom pods (you may miss a few). Serve immediately.

(This recipe was originally published in Edible Alaska. Subscribe!)