Good Day Sunshine by The Beatles
For all the reasons that this rice pudding makes me happy, I needed a song to match the mood and this song does the job fab-ulously! I love songs that make me want to skip and dance about! I love songs that give me an inner sense that all is right in the world and, despite the news that gets the largest chunk of "air time," I still feel that the world is a mostly good place - that people love more than hate - that acts of kindness far outnumber the acts of hatred - and truth still trumps guile. This song provides the perfect soundtrack to enjoy the solace found in this bowl - of love.
On Sunday evenings, my mother would put a casserole dish filled with rice, milk, and spices into the oven, turn it on low, and we'd go off to our evening church service. Upon returning, I'd race to get through the door to get hit with that heady aroma that that dish of simple ingredients created in our absence. Cinnamon and cream had warmed to perfection. There was no need to nag us kids to get our coats put away and get to the table. The pudding did the bidding itself. As if it were yesterday, I can picture my siblings and I around the table, enjoying this treat.
Of course, if Mom snuck some raisins in there, there would be a moment of outcry. I was not a fan of any dried fruit at that stage in my life and, like my oldest brother, Ed, I particularly didn't enjoy finding raisins in any of my food - be it pudding, oatmeal, or cookies, thank you very much. But I'd work my way around the intruders, if present, and enjoy the rest of the goodness. I don't know if the others enjoyed the pudding as much as I did, but, for me, it remains a head-turner to this day.
Which is why, when I saw this recipe, I did a double-take. Nay - I did a triple-take!! The fact that it was rice pudding is what made me go back and scan the recipe and then, when I saw my newest most favorite ingredient, "cardamom," my heart leapt with joy and made me go back and thoroughly read the recipe. What? No oven involved? No long wait? I COULD ENJOY THIS BOWL OF HUGS IN A MATTER OF MINUTES? Oh yeah - I'm making this NOW! Well, I was on a plane at the moment, but I knew that as soon as I got home I was going to make it! Well, but by the time I got home I had the flu. But, the minute I was better, I made this pudding! And it was exactly what I needed! It is so delicious - and it's from Cooking Light magazine so wahoo! for helping us keep those healthy resolutions! I am eating this for my breakfasts! Don't let the "pudding" word trick you into thinking this is only a dessert!
The recipe calls for stirring the coconut into the pudding. I opted to toast it and sprinkle it on top - why would you pass up the opportunity to add such a wonderful element of flavor?! As a matter of fact, while I was at it, I toasted a bunch of coconut in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes, cooled it, and am keeping it on hand to add to whatever I deem worthy and deserving!
Go ahead and give it a try! "The proof of the pudding is in the eating!" Miguel de Cervantes in Don Quixote
I guarantee it'll make you .....
Rice Pudding with Coconut
slightly adapted from Cooking Light
Printable Recipe Card
2 c. cooked rice
1/2 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 c. 2% milk, divided
2 large egg yolks
1 c. light coconut milk
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cardamom
toasted pumpkin seeds
Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl.
Add egg yolks to another bowl and whisk in 1/4 c. of the milk. Whisk in the sugar mixture until blended and set aside.
Place the remaining 1 1/4 c. milk and the coconut milk in a saucepan and bring just to a boil.
Stabilize your bowl of egg and sugar mixture by placing on a moistened towel or rubber mat, and, while whisking, very slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg/sugar mixture. You want to go slowly so you don't curdle or solidify the eggs. By working slowly you will bring the temperature of the eggs up gradually, avoiding this.
Once the two are combined, pour the mixture back into the saucepan and bring to a boil again, stirring constantly. Continue to stir and cook for 1 minute. It will become quite thick and your spoon will leave a path through the custard. Remove from heat and stir in the cooked rice, vanilla, cinnamon, and cardamom.
When serving, top with just a little of the toasted coconut, pistachios, and pumpkin seeds. I also drizzled a tablespoon of the coconut milk around. M-m-m-m-m!