Arroz con Leche with Anise is so rich, so creamy and so flavorful, that you simply won’t be able to get enough. And that’s a promise!
Rinse the rice under cold water a couple of times and then add it to a large saucepan with the cinnamon stick. Add the water and turn the heat to high. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low, cover and gently simmer until all of the water is absorbed.
Keeping the heat low, uncover and add 1 1/4 cup of milk. Stirring often, cook until it’s absorbed. Continue adding milk, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring often until each addition is absorbed. When you add the last of the milk, also add the lemon juice, 3/4 cup of the sugar and the anise. Mix and stirring often again, cook until about 3/4 of the milk has been absorbed, leaving it very creamy.
Add the mixture to 6 (6-ounce) shallow ramekins and let them cool to room temperature, about 90 minutes. At this point, if you think you'd like to serve them cold, you should cover them with plastic and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
Coat each one with about 1 tablespoon of the remaining sugar and sprinkle lightly with ground cinnamon. Use a small kitchen blow torch to brown the sugar to create a crust. Simply turn it on medium-high and evenly go around until all the sugar has caramelized to a pretty golden brown. Don't worry if some areas are darker than others. (If you don't have a torch, place the custards on a baking sheet, and adjust a rack so it's directly under the flame. Broil them just until the sugar is golden, less than 1 minute.
These can be served warm, at room temperature or cold.