Friday, September 06, 2013

Juan J's Desserts

Juan J's is a LA based producer of pre-packaged Mexican style creamy desserts.  They make three styles of flan, along with rice pudding, a few different gelatins (some with fruit), and a custard dessert (jericalla - a fascinating sounding cross between flan and creme brûlée).

I discovered Juan J's in the refrigerated section at my local corner market, Bayside Market, next to the pre-made Jello and nasty Kozy Shack puddings.  I didn't really have high hopes, since it was a packaged product, but I sure do love my puddings, so I gave it a try.  I'm so glad I did!  Bayside Market only carries the rice pudding and flan, and since I don't tend to like flan I didn't try that, but I'm now on a quest to find other places that sell Juan J's products, particularly the jericalla.  Even if it is a cross with flan, my love of creme brûlée makes me very interested.  If you spot this around San Francisco, let me know!
Arroz con leche.
The rice pudding didn't really look like much.  Just pre-packaged rice pudding.  How good could it be?

The answer: it was astonishingly good.  The top was covered in cinnamon, a really flavorful strong cinnamon.  The pudding itself was creamy.  It wasn't too thick, it wasn't too thin, just enough liquid to make it a pudding, not at all runny.  It was sweetened, but not too sweet.  I think there was some vanilla as well.  The rice was well cooked, not too mushy, not too al dente.

I was ready to have to doctor it up, adding some fruit compote, or other spices, or nuts, or something to it, like I have with so many other rice puddings I've tried.  Since I had so many ideas on how I'd "fix it", assuming it would be bad, I had a few lined up to try (including a fresh berry compote), and I did try some that way, but quickly regretted it.  It really was just perfect as it was.  I should have left it alone.

I tend to order rice pudding whenever I see it on menus at restaurants, since I can really love it, but usually I am disappointed.  This didn't suffer from any of the common ailments, like by the incredibly watery version from Lahore Karahi or the goopy, flavorless one from Camino.  It was even better than the decent baked one from Tuba, or the elegant one at Cyrus.  Yes, this pre-packaged one was better than any restaurant version I recall having.

I thought the serving size looked too big, but quickly realized it wasn't going to be a problem.  I devoured it.  It was great as a dessert, paired with a coffee to which I added cinnamon.  I intended to save half for breakfast the next morning (don't judge! Totally acceptable breakfast food!), and serve it warm, but alas, I had no restraint and never got to it.  Whoops.  Next time :)
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