Friday, October 3, 2008

Coconut Rice Pudding with Mango

Coconut and mango always seem to evoke the warm sunshine and cool breezes of some faraway and exotic locale. You know, sort of like a vacation dream sequence filled with laughter and sunscreen. Well, now that we are firmly planted in the fall season, I thought maybe we should slip away for just a while to savor these great tropical flavors before the rain arrives.

Rice is the centerpiece of so many diets around the world. Rice desserts are also a mainstay in several cultures. I’ve talked about the beautiful Gâteau de Riz, which is a simple but delicious baked and caramelized variation on rice pudding, a kind of crème brulee of the rice family. Today I decided we should make a simple rice pudding that would serve as a postcard from our dreamy getaway.

Rice pudding is a cinch to make. It just needs to cook slowly with occasional stirring. If you like coconut, this version will have you wondering if it shouldn't be among the more comforting coconut desserts found anywhere in this world. The creamy texture, light coconut flavor brightened by lime juice and the unmistakable sunburst of mango is truly satisfying. Enjoy it as we dust off our umbrellas and tumble quickly into October.

Bench notes:

- This recipe calls for unsweetened coconut milk. I use the very reliable and widely available Thai Kitchen brand (regular, not lite).
- Arborio rice is a white short grained rice grown in the Piedmont and Lombardy regions of northern Italy. It is typically used for risotto, so the end result is a thick and very creamy pudding.
- When the pudding has finished cooking, add the lime juice to taste and be sure to adjust the salt, which makes the whole dessert come together.
- The pudding is best when served the same day. It can be refrigerated, but it will thicken considerably.

Coconut Rice Pudding with Mango
Serves 6

1/2 C Arborio rice
2 cans (14 oz each) unsweetened coconut milk
generous pinch of salt
1/2 C sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split open and scraped
1 C milk
juice of 1 lime
2 ripe mangoes, peeled and diced

Cover rice with hot water and let sit for 1 hour. Drain.

Mix rice, coconut milk, salt, sugar and vanilla bean and bring to boil. Simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, for 1 - 1 1/2 hours or until mixture reaches desired thickness and rice is done. Add milk throughout last 1/2 hour of cooking and stir more frequently to prevent scorching as the pudding absorbs most of the liquid. Remove from heat and add lime juice to taste and adjust salt. Cool. Serve with fresh ripe mango tossed with any remaining lime juice.


Ashley said...

I've never been able to make a really good rice pudding and now I know why! I was using the wrong rice! I'm gonna try this today, my son LOVES rice pudding! Looks absolutely delicious!

Andrea said...

This looks so good. I have some arborio rice leftover from a risotto waiting to be used up, maybe I should give rice pudding a go. I've only ever made it once before and I wasn't terribly impressed by the recipe, but this one looks perfect.

Susan said...

This rice pudding looks fabulous. I was actually going through my recipe files last night and each time I'd run across a rice pudding I pulled it aside. It seems like the perfect sweet comfort food this time of year.

Heather said...

yum! i am allergic to coconut, but everything else looks delicious!! i love rice pudding :)

Helene said...

Lovely recipe! I grew up on gateau de riz and riz au lait. We had it almost every week. Such fond memories!

Y said...

Mangoes are now coming into season here. I've already bitten into a few and can't wait to have it with rice pudding too. My favourite is the Thai style sticky rice with mango.

Anonymous said...

This is just perfect for the season. Shades of shorter days and colder weather with the comfort food pudding, but still not admitting defeat with the brighter mango and its flavors. Yumm.

Lori said...

This looks so great. Sweet rice is so popular here in Brazil. I had never thought about making it with coconut milk. I will have to try it for sure. Thanks!

Sarah said...

Made this for an Oscar part last night. Used 1/4 cup Agave nectar, and a healthy dash of vanilla extract (I was out of Vanilla Beans). Also served toasted unsweetened coconut and toasted chopped pistashios. Great rice pudding.

pastry studio said...

Thank you for your feedback, Sarah! I'm so glad you enjoyed it and pleased you were able to adjust it for your tastes. The pistachio garnish sounds like a great addition.

marco island said...

I tried this recipe at home and my family just loved it! Thanks for sharing.