I bought Arborio rice (Italian short-grain) for a change last week and decided to make my own version. My grandma made this once when I was a teenager and I liked it but never made it until I was in college. I came across a lighter version while I was in my “dieting” phase and since I was watching my sugar intake, thought that the lighter recipe was great. Looking back, I wonder why I didn’t just make the full fat style. If you’re going to make it, go all out, right? I did this past weekend because I tossed in ingredients that I enjoy (although you can leave out the coconut, coconut milk, rum and raisins but I wouldn’t leave all of those out). Mine is a combination of different cuisines; I love food fusion. I hope you will try this-it’s easy and I promise (I rarely do this) that you will crave it at some point and rush out to get the ingredients.
The Dabble’s Rice Pudding with Fresh Whipped Cream
Serves 4 to 6 large portions
1 ½ cups Arborio rice (or other white rice)
2 ½ cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups coconut milk (don’t want/have coconut milk? use 4 cups whole milk)
2/3 cup brown sugar (I like this better than white that is usually used)
pinch of salt
1 1/3 cups raisins (brown or golden)-optional
*3 tbsp of rum for raisins to soak- I did this but it’s optional
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ to 1 cup shredded coconut, toasted in a pan for a few minutes until golden-optional
Whipped Cream-makes about 1 to 1½ cups
8 oz. heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
*See directions below: If making your own, make sure the heavy cream is very cold and also place the glass or metal bowl into the refrigerator before making-this helps.
In a large pot, boil 2 ¾ cups of water and add the rice. Reduce the heat to low, stir every once in a while and cover, simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Add 2 cups of milk, 1 ½ cups coconut milk (of if you aren’t using coconut milk, 3 ½ cups of milk), brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Cook, uncovered, over low/medium heat for 20 minutes, until it looks creamy and be sure to stir frequently so that the bottom doesn’t stick too much. It will stick slightly in the end.
In a pan, over low heat, toast the shredded coconut (which is optional) until golden then set aside. You don’t need to toast it but I think it adds more depth to the taste. Plus, half of the toasted coconut is used for the garnish with whipped cream.
To the creamy rice, stir in the remaining ½ cup of milk, raisins (soaked or not in rum) and ½ of the shredded coconut, cook for a few more minutes then remove from the heat. Stir in the butter, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. I like to top this with both whipped cream and the remaining toasted coconut. It’s normally served warm but I think it tastes great cold too and I do recommend making your own whipped cream (see below for directions).
*Whipped cream: In a glass or metal bowl, I used my electric mixer; add chilled heavy cream, sugar and a pinch of salt. Whip with mixer on low for a minute or two, when stiff peaks begin to form, switch to a higher setting for nice, fluffy whipped cream. If mixing by hand, whip until soft peaks form.