When I was a kid rice pudding was a very popular dessert. My dad used to love all types of pudding, whether it be tapioca or rice, it didn’t matter – it was hard to get a bowl when it was made fresh in our house. Today, rice pudding is mostly seen in either casual diners, or high-end restaurants with a few fancy ingredients infused into the mixture to excite the guests. My rice pudding recipe is a combo of both – traditional, yet relevant to today’s flavorful ingredients.
Coconut milk is everywhere and adding a touch to the end of cooking, changes the flavor profile of my pudding. Using straight coconut milk, seems a bit overindulgent and takes away from the beauty of whole milk and the natural creaminess it has to offer. The combination of both coconut and almonds is always a nice marriage, in fact Baskin Robbins Ice Cream used to make a Coconut Almond Ice Cream I loved as a kid, this recipe reminds me of that in many ways.
The process of preparing rice pudding is all about making sure you don’t cook it too fast, so it doesn’t burn. Lower heat seems to be your friend when making pudding, so don’t get too excited and crank up the heat. The stirring might seems tedious at times, but it’s worth every bite because the pudding’s texture becomes airy and cloud-like. This dessert can be made ahead for gatherings too, it makes a nice ending to a great meal.
4 cups whole milk
1 cup Arborio Rice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
pinch of salt
1 cup light coconut milk
1/3 cup sliced blanched almonds
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
(Makes 6 Servings)
1. In a large saucepan, add milk, rice, sugar, almond extract and salt. Cook slowly over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until milk has reduced and rice is fork tender.
2. Add coconut milk and continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep rice at a low boil, so it doesn’t burn. Remove pudding from heat and let rest in pan for 5 minutes.
3. In a saute pan, toast almonds and coconut over low heat until golden brown, about 2 minutes, set aside. Spoon pudding into serving bowls and cover with plastic wrap, chill for at least 2 hours. Top pudding with toasted coconut and almonds right before serving. Enjoy!