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a bit less than 2 quarts
Originating in North Africa, this beverage has many regional variations, primarily in Spanish-speaking countries. My version uses our Sri Lanka blend, and either vanilla extract or beans, or both! I've included a lazier idea too if the idea of making rice/almond milk sounds like too much work.
In a pot bring 4 cups of water to just below a boil, add everything except the sugar, remove from heat, and allow to soak, covered, for about 3 hours.
Transfer the contents to a blender and blend to a smooth consistency, then either strain through a filter bag or a strainer lined with a clean cloth, pressing to get as much liquid out as possible.
Add 4 more cups of water to the strained horchata, then sweeten with sugar to your tastes. It will keep, refrigerated, for at least 3 days, and can be stored in portions in the freezer for up to 6 months.
I like to shake it with a bit of ice, then strain into a bowl (like the rough clay ones my friend made that are pictured) and serve with a pinch of Sri Lanka on top.
I've had success using the rice and almonds that are left over to make rice pudding. The texture is much smoother since the rice is ground, but it's quite tasty all the same.
• Lazy Version: Blend unsweetened rice milk with a few tablespoons of good quality marzipan and the spices. Sweeten to taste and serve.
• Make a granita. First sweeten the horchata a bit more than usual, as it will taste less sweet when cold. Place a layer in a shallow dish, freeze for 30 minutes, remove the dish and break up any ice with a fork into small pieces. Return to the freezer and repeat in 30 minute intervals until you have a slushy dessert.
• Nut-free. Omit the almonds and instead use sweetened condensed milk to sweeten the horchata. The dairy adds great texture and body so you won't miss the almonds.
• Nut and dairy free? Try using Vanilla Bean Tahini instead of the condensed milk called for above. The flavor profile will be a bit different, but still delicious!
Food images and recipe © Christian Leue.
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