My memories of rice pudding are not fond, barely existent even. I didn’t have a grandma or aunt who had a secret rice pudding recipe that was made for special occasions. The first time I remember even being presented with it, I was probably around 13 or 14 and at a friends house, I think her mom had made it. I remember looking at the white, clumpy mass, studded with raisins and flecked with a dusting of cinnamon; I was hesitant, I just didn’t get it. Where’s the cookies and ice cream?
We reheated a little bowl and it smelled pretty good, but I took a small bite and blehh! Chunky, starchy rice, and the raisins! What was I thinking, I didn’t even like raisins (remember this is my younger “more dramatic” teenage self when food aversions were still high). So frankly I never really understood what all the hype was about. And to this day I have not eaten nor made rice pudding.
Fast forward to several weeks ago. I had this small inkling to make rice pudding. It hit me all of a sudden out of nowhere. It wasn’t like I had seen it somewhere or heard someone talking about it, I just had this urge to make it. Thinking this was a trick my mind was playing on me, I made chocolate pudding instead. And that settled that… so I thought.
I was flipping through the pages of Pure Green Magazine and I came across a recipe called Coconut Sweet Rice with Honey Brulée. Reading through the ingredients I thought, “Hmm, I like coconut milk and rice. I like spices and honey and vanilla. This sounds amazing, I must make it!” The recipe sat for about a week, while I hemmed and hawed and made chocolate chip cookies instead. When I finally got to it I decided to only make half a batch. You probably see where this is going, but people! I so get it now! It was creamy and sweet and it made my kitchen smell like a bakery. Not to mention easy. You just throw everything into a dutch oven, bake for a bit over an hour, then blast it for five minutes under the broiler. I did most of it the day before serving. And I wished I had made the full batch. It may not look like much, but I’m already scheming a day when I can make it again.
It was the perfect little dessert to finish reading all the amazing travel stories in Pure Green Magazine. This is another good one! Focused on green design and lifestyle. The most recent issue titled ‘Wanderlust’ has eco travel stories about traveling across Europe in a camper van (really wanting to do this now), a travel experience like no other to Antarctica, a beautiful story about hiking in Colorado by Kelsey of Happyolks, and so much more. And what goes better with traveling than experiencing new food! There are still a few recipes in there I’d like to try!
I should also let you know I’ve started a new monthly column on the Pure Green Blog called The Kitchen Gardener. It’s going to highlight all the produce coming out of my garden this next year. It started last month with lemony kale, so good. It’s going to be interesting these next few months as there’s not too much growing! As a new contributer, Celine, the Editor is giving all of you 10% off your subscription!! Just enter LOVEPGM when you check out.
Coconut Sweet Rice with Honey Brülée / serves 8
Adapted (barely) from Jonathan Mackay in Pure Green Magazine
The original recipe uses cinnamon sticks and whole cardamon. I had neither, so I used my best judgments for the ground measurements. Don’t skip the zest! I thought I wouldn’t taste it much, but I was surprised every time I tasted a little note of it.
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup honey, warmed so it’s runny
2 13.5 oz. cans coconut cream (I used full fat coconut milk)
6 oz. almond milk or coconut milk
1/2 cup arborio or jasmine rice (I used jasmine brown rice)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Demerara cane sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
Preheat oven to 375F. Reserving the nutmeg and honey, pour the remaining ingredients into an ovenproof dish or dutch oven. Stir together, cover with lid or foil, and place in the oven. Bake for about 1 hour, then uncover and continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from oven and allow to cool down before refrigerating.
Once cooled, the pudding will thicken and set. It can be eaten now, or you can chill it for at least 30 minutes (or until cold), then spoon into small (4 oz.) ovenproof ramekins and smooth the surface. Cover the pudding with a thin layer of runny honey, sprinkle lightly with nutmeg, and place on a baking sheet.
Preheat broiler to 500F. Place baking sheet of ramekins in the broiler on the top shelf, and broil until the honey bubbles and caramelizes (for about 5 minutes). Let stand for 5 minutes and serve.