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Cinnamon Rice Pudding

Turkish cuisine channels cultural currents from every direction, resulting in the delicious chaos that is Istanbul. Turks, Greeks, Arabs, Persians and countless others have passed through here, leaving an indelible stamp on the cuisine. Historians speak of the “layered” nature of the city, foodies describe Istanbul as a “stew.”

Cinnamon rice pudding with cherry compote and pistachios

If you can’t get the two cherry varieties one is absolutely fine. If you can, infuse the milk and cream a day in advance and keep in the fridge. Serves four


  • 750ml full-fat milk 
  • 225ml double cream 
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped or 1 tspvanilla paste 
  • 3 small cinnamon sticks 
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar 
  • 180g pudding rice 
  • ¼ tsp rose water 
  • 2 tbsp slivered pistachiosor lightly crushed pistachios, to garnish 
  • 1 tbsp dried, edible rose petals, to garnish 
  • Salt 
  • Cherry compote: 
    • 250g pitted black cherries 
    • 150g pitted morello or sour cherries 
    • 50g caster sugar 
    • 1 cinnamon stick 
    • 1½ tbsp lemon juice 
    • ¼ tsp rose water


  1. Put the milk, cream, vanilla (pod and seeds), cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of caster sugar in a medium saucepan and place on high heat.
  2. As soon as the mix is about to reach boiling point, remove it and allow to cool. Leave in the fridge to infuse for 1-2 hours or overnight if possible. 
  3. Mix the cherries, sugar, cinnamon sticks, lemon juice and rose water in a medium saucepan and stir. Cook over medium heat to a thick jam consistency, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool. 
  4. Bring the infused milk and cream back to the boil. Add the rice and simmer on a medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. The rice should cook through but still retain a bite and the pudding should be thick. You will need to add a little bit of water, up to 50ml, towards the end of the cooking if the pudding becomes too thick before the rice is done. 
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pick out the cinnamon and vanilla pod. Add the rose water and stir in a pinch of salt. 
  6. Place some of the cooled cherries into individual bowls and spoon over some pudding to cover. Repeat with more cherries and rice. Finish with a spoonful of cherries, a sprinkle of pistachios and the rose petals. Serve immediately.