In Food52 Baking, the editors of Food52 put together a compilation of recipes made for quick and easy weeknight baking.
Creamy and soothing rice pudding is as enjoyable eaten warm in front of a fire as it is eaten cold for breakfast the next morning. But this isn’t your typical rendition; it’s made in the oven, not on top of the stove, and it uses coconut milk rather than dairy, which gives it a rich, almost tropical taste. Because you can let the pudding do its own thing in the oven, you’ll have plenty of time to put together the coconut-date topping, which, by the way, is just as good on oatmeal or yogurt as it is on this dessert.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Butter a deep baking dish measuring about 2 quarts—the exact size doesn’t matter.
- To make the pudding, stir together all of the ingredients in a bowl, then pour into the prepared baking dish.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then stir. Repeat this two more times, stirring at the end of each 30-minute interval. Toward the end of this time, the pudding will begin to thicken and look like, well, pudding. After the third time you stir, at 90 minutes, start stirring at 10-minute intervals. Each time, check the consistency by letting a bit of the pudding cool slightly on the back of a spoon and then drawing a finger through it. When the pudding looks thick and creamy and the track from your finger remains, the pudding is done. Continue to bake and stir at 10-minute intervals until the pudding is done. The total baking time may be up to 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, prepare the topping. Toast the coconut and almonds together in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until golden. Let cool a bit.
- Coarsely chop the dates, then put them in a food processor. Add the coconut, almonds, nutmeg, and salt and pulse until the mixture has a coarse crumbly texture; alternatively, you can finely chop everything by hand.
- Serve the rice pudding warm or cold, topped with the coconut mixture. If cooling the pudding, stir it occasionally as it cools to prevent a skin from forming.
Reprinted with permission from Food52 Baking, copyright © 2015 by The Editors of Food52. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2015 by James Ransom