How do you make creamy, coconut rice pudding even more delectable? Top it with crunchy, buttery toasted coconut brittle!
Rice pudding is my favorite dessert. Okay, I feel like I’ve said that before about chocolate cake and key lime pie, pumpkin pie, oh and apple pie…all right any pie. But I mean it this time. Thing is, I meant it those times too. I guess it’s a little like picking a favorite song or having a favorite child. They’re all your favorites for different reasons. Just like Ben the Bachelor, I feel like it’s possible to be in love with more than one dessert at the same time. But unlike Ben, I don’t have to pick just one to enjoy for the rest of my life (or at least stick with until the fickle viewers have focused their attention on a new, semi-damaged but very fit singleton embarking on the journey of choosing a life partner in front of millions in record time). Yeah, see rice pudding and I have a much deeper relationship. It’s true love.
Rice pudding has seen me through good times and bad. Rice pudding was there for me in those early days of pregnancy when I could stomach only a few bites of food. RP was there to comfort me in the diner across from the hospital when my boyfriend (now husband) was admitted after a scary collapse. And RP was there for me after I lost my grandma who, like me, had a soft spot for the stuff. But like any committed relationship, RP and I have shared plenty of highs as well as lows. RP was how I finished a couple of my most memorable meals in some very swanky restaurants and was front and center the night I got engaged. RP shared my first Hawaiian sunset and my first proper London meal.
But rice pudding is not without it’s flaws. For as many swooningly creamy bites I’ve tasted, I’ve had some downright awful, gummy bites too. To me there’s nothing worse than rice pudding that’s been cooked to death in too little liquid. I find I get the best results cooked on top of the stove, never baked in the oven. I favor a two step cooking process; first slowly cooking the dried rice in milk (not water), then adding sugar and more milk (in this case coconut) and slowly simmering it to rich and creamy perfection. Low and slow is key here, my darling RP is not to be rushed.
Classic rice pudding with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg is definitely a recipe that one should have in his or her repertoire and I promise I’ll share that recipe here one day. But today I’ve got a twist on the classic. I’ve used jasmine rice, coconut milk and stirred in a handful of toasted coconut at the end. It’s delicious served warm or cold and a winning dessert all on it’s own. But I’ve even gone a step further today by topping it with a buttery, crunchy brittle. And oh, this brittle. It’s sweet and caramel-y with toasted coconut, puffed rice cereal and a smattering of sea salt. Again, ain’t nothing wrong with enjoying this brittle with a glass of milk all by itself (also makes a cute gift wrapped up in cellophane and tied with a pretty bow), but it’s hard, crunchy bite is the perfect counter to the soft, creamy pudding. You can serve a wedge alongside for nibbling, or crumble it up as a topping for added texture.
Today is just one more sweet memory with my dessert life partner and it certainly won’t be my last. I’m sure I’ll make a pot to comfort my boys scraped knees and broken hearts. I’ll serve rice pudding in my prettiest stemware at the end of a holiday meal or cradle a bowl in my lap while watching a favorite tear-jerker. I may even cook some up to serve while I watch the Bachelor finale. And while I can’t promise I won’t be raving about another favorite dessert on here next week, I can say that today rice pudding is getting my final rose.
- Coconut Rice Pudding
- 1/2 cup jasmine rice
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 - 13.5 oz can lite coconut milk
- 1 egg yolk lightly beaten
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes toasted
- Coconut Caramel Brittle
- 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes toasted
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup Rice Krispies
- 1 tsp sea salt plus 1/2 tsp sea salt
Coconut Rice Pudding: Combine rice, whole milk and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cover. When milk just begins to come up to a boil, turn it down to very low heat and cook, covered, until the liquid is almost fully absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir frequently so the pan doesn't scorch. You may need to crack the top so it doesn't boil over.
Add the coconut milk and sugar and cook, uncovered, over low heat until thick and creamy, about 25 minutes.
While the mixture cooks, spread the coconut on a sheet tray and bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until golden - golden brown. Cool to room temperature and reserve.
Once the rice mixture is ready (it should still be very creamy, but not watery), it's time to add in the egg yolk. Place the beaten yolk in a small bowl and whisk in a few spoons of the rice mixture (this is to prevent the egg from scrambling when you add it into a hot pan).
Add the yolk mixture and vanilla to the pot, stir well and cook for another minute.
Stir in the toasted coconut and cinnamon.
The rice pudding can be enjoyed warm or chilled.
Coconut Caramel Brittle: Place a piece of parchment or a silpat on a sheet tray and reserve for the cooked brittle.
Spread the coconut on a sheet tray and bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. Cool to room temperature and reserve.
Combine both the sugars, corn syrup and butter in a medium saucepan over med/high heat fitted with a candy thermometer.
Cook until the mixture reaches 300 degrees on the candy thermometer and then quickly stir in the baking soda and 1 tsp of sea salt.
Stir in the toasted coconut and Rice Krispies and spread into a thin layer on the prepared sheet tray and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp sea salt. Work quickly as the mixture will harden as it cools.
Cool the pan to room temperature or to speed up the cooling, place the pan in the refrigerator.
Break up pieces with your hands or a rolling pin and enjoy!