Put the cinnamon stick and 2 cups water in a medium heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the rice, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Uncover and remove and discard cinnamon stick. Add milk, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and salt and mix well. Increase heat to medium. Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring frequently, until very thick (pudding should hold its shape firmly in a spoon), about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely. Combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar with ground cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside. Measure a scant 1/2 cup pudding into center of each tortilla, then fold tortilla in half, pressing gently to close edges. The sticky rice filling acts as glue to keep the empanadas closed. Add enough oil to come to depth of 1/8-inch up the side of a large cast-iron skillet. Heat oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches, fry empanadas until crispy and deep golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. While empanadas are still warm, generously sprinkle both sides of each one with cinnamon sugar. Serve warm.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Rick Bayless, Frontera Grill and Topolobampa, Chicago, IL