A few months ago, I went to visit my sister in California. It was a great visit, but then it always is. We go shopping (naturally - we were practically raised in a mall!), we go get our nails done at the absolute best nail salon in Southern California, we hang out, do cool stuff and then we shop some more. Since her husband was out of town during my last visit, I got to be her date for my nephew's football banquet at school. It was a pot-luck event, and since I was going to be in town, she volunteered me to bring a dessert (naturally). We had a good time, chatted with some of her friends and enjoyed watching my nephew be embarrassed by the whole evening - as were all the other 14-year olds on the team. Checking out the lineup of desserts on the buffet, sis & I couldn't pass up the home-made rice pudding one of the mom's had brought. After all, rice pudding is another one of our childhood fav's. We headed back to the table, grabbed our spoons and dug in. Immediately, our eyes locked as we tried to figure out what the heck that odd flavour was... it sure wasn't like any rice pudding we had ever tasted. It tasted....uhhh....smokey...like cigarettes or something. I know we live in a very food-saavy world these days, and chefs are always trying new things, testing new flavour combinations, but I am almost 100% positive that Wet Ashtray Rice Pudding is not going to be the hot new taste sensation that takes the country by storm. Holy hell, it was bad. One spoonful was enough and we were off to find some other dessert to kill the aftertaste. The only thing I can think of is either a) they smoke a LOT in that house, or b) someone accidentally grabbed the bottle of liquid smoke instead of the vanilla. Now we've all had at least one culinary disaster in our lives, but one thing I have learned is to always, ALWAYS, taste your product before you head out the door to serve it to 75 people.
That little incident nearly killed my love for rice pudding - it certainly made me avoid it for a while, but I've been itching to come up with a recipe for coconut rice pudding and I figure tonight's the night to get back on the proverbial horse and give it a try. It turned out pretty good, especially for something I had no recipe for to begin with. Hubby liked it, and I think my sis would too. After all, the bar is set pretty low since the last time she had rice pudding. Too bad she's too far away to be one of my tasters....
Julia's Coconut-Ginger Rice Pudding
4 Tbsp (60 g) ginger marmalade
1 Cup (240 ml) coconut milk
3 Tbsp (45 ml) heavy cream
2 Tbsp (30 g) sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1/2 tsp fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 egg yolk
1/4 Cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 Cup cooked rice (great use for left-overs, but I recommend using a starchy, short-grain rice like arborio)
In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt the ginger marmalade. Stir in the coconut milk, heavy cream, sugar & salt and heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture just starts to boil, then reduce the heat to low. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, use a fork to break up the egg yolk. Take a few tablespoons of the coconut-ginger mixture, and slowly add it to the egg yolk, whisking continuously (you need to temper the egg before you add it to the mixture, or else you'll have scrambled eggs in your pudding and that's almost as gross as wet ashtray rice pudding). Pour the tempered egg mixture into the saucepan, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring continuously until the mixture is slightly thickened, or temperature reads 175-180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove pan from heat and stir in the vanilla and coconut extracts, as well as the lime juice. Toss in the cooked rice, and stir well until all of the rice is coasted with the custard.
In a small, non-stick skillet over medium-low heat, slowly toast the shredded coconut. Keep a close eye on this, and stir the coconut every minute or so, as it can burn quickly. As soon as the coconut turns golden brown, immediately remove it from the heat and add it to the rice pudding mixture in the saucepan. Give the pudding a final stir, and spoon into small bowls or ramekins. Chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours before serving.
Because this is a recipe that I completely made up in my head, I welcome any and all feedback you have to offer. Give the recipe a try and let me know what you think. Enjoy!