Up this week: an ultimate comfort food dessert - rice pudding! Thanks be to Isabelle for another recipe that doesn't have two sticks of butter in it. I hate to break the bad news first, but I had two problems with this recipe. Not really problems so much as... qualms, I guess you'd call them. After reading it through the first time, I thought to myself that using arborio rice was sorta neat. I mean, you want your rice pudding to be creamy, but you want to taste individual grains of rice. Mush is not what I go for when making rice pudding, because guess what? I have all of my teeth still. But then I realized that Dorie had you parboil it in an excess of water. And then rinse it off! Why would you let all that starchy goodness just go down the drain?!?
In a second, I had already decided to ditch making Dorie's recipe to the letter. I would not parboil in an excess of water, I would only use the smallest amount necessary - adding it a little at a time, a la risotto. Then, if I misjudged and had too much water, I would drain it, but I was not going to rinse. No sirree. I want that starch.
On to qualm number two. Chocolate. In my rice pudding. Excuse me, but BLECH. I like vanilla rice puddings, but my all time favorite is a rum raisin rice pudding. Seriously, even people who hate rice pudding love this stuff. (Hello! It has RUM!) So I puttered around my apartment kitchen (and by puttered, I mean I turned around in a circle. I've got a tiny ass kitchen). In the end, I came up with: a bag of sweetened flake coconut from the Florida Pie for TWD and a bag of frozen sweet cherries from the cobbler for TWD. Seriously, this TWD thing has left me with the most random assortment of things in my kitchen. Oh yeah, and I realized that I had some scraped out vanilla bean pods that could be repurposed as well.
And that is how I ended up with a Coconut Cherry Rice Pudding. It's purple, perfumed with vanilla, and tropically coconutty. Oh yeah, and it's tasty. That's key. After making it, I put some into my cute little dishes that I could eat it straight out of, and the rest into mini brioche molds, in hopes that I could unmold it and have a fun little starfish shaped rice pudding. Unfortunately, this is a softer pudding, so that... umm... didn't go so hot. No pictures of the carnage, thankyouverymuch.
Coconut Cherry Rice Pudding
1/8 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup water
1 cup coconut milk
5/8 cup whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean (I used a pre-scraped one, it still has a lot of flavor)
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons sweetened shred coconut
1/8 cup chopped cherries (I used frozen ones and cut each into 8 pieces - about 6 of them)
Bring the water and arborio rice to a boil. Let boil uncovered for 10 minutes, adding water if necessary. Drain any excess water off and set rice aside in a separate bowl. (Dorie's recipe has you rinse the rice, but as I said, I can't stand to wash away all that starchy goodness)
Pour coconut milk and milk into the same pot, stirring in the sugar and vanilla beans. Bring to a boil then add the parboiled rice and coconut. Lower heat to low and let it bubble away for 20-25 minutes. Add the cherries, and boil until the rice is done. As Dorie says, you'll see the rice floating underneath the top layer of milk, but it will be quite soupy. And as she said, it thickens up quite nicely in the fridge. Fish out the vanilla bean and pour the pudding into individual serving dishes. Press plastic film over the top to prevent a skin from forming and chill at least overnight.
Makes two servings.
PS: To those of you who put up with my blah-ness last week, a million thanks. You have no idea how nice it was to see so many comments saying such nice things. What a wonderful pick-me-up, and one more reason why I don't understand when people say you can't truly get to know people through blogs. After such thoughtful messages, I had only gratitude that I decided, 11 months ago, to jump into this world.
Last Week: Kugelhopf
Next Week: Thanksgiving Twofer Pie