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Coconut Rice Pudding

For the Globe and Mail/Stephanie Eddy

This isn't your typical run-of-the-mill rice pudding. It's still rich and comforting (as all good rice pudding should be), but packed with coconut flavour and topped with a crispy brûlée crust that creates the perfect contrast to the creamy rice centre.

Stephanie Eddy, who writes about her baking exploits at clockworklemon.com, lives in Calgary.

Servings: 6

Ready time: 2 hours 30 min (includes chilling time)

Ingredients

1 tbsp coconut oil or unsalted butter

2 tbsp (10g) shredded coconut

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (115g) medium grain rice

1 400 ml can of coconut milk

1 cup 2% milk

1 egg yolk

3 tbsp (40g) sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Extra sugar for topping

Method

In a medium-sized pot, heat the coconut oil or butter over medium-high heat. Add the shredded coconut and stir until the coconut has toasted to a light golden brown. Add the rice and stir over medium heat until the rice becomes translucent (1-2 minutes).

Stir in the coconut milk and the 2% milk and bring to a boil while stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes stirring frequently until the rice is tender. Uncover the pot and simmer on medium-low for an additional 8 minutes, stirring continuously until the rice is cooked completely. Remove the pot from the heat.

In a separate bowl, place the egg yolk, sugar and vanilla extract. Take a cup of the hot rice pudding mixture and slowly pour it into the bowl with the egg yolk, sugar and vanilla while whisking continuously. Then add the egg and rice mixture back into the pot and place the pot over medium heat. Whisk for 2-3 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. The hot pudding will be looser and will thicken further as it cools. Taste the pudding and add more sugar if you prefer your pudding sweeter.

If you are serving the pudding plain, scrape the pudding into a bowl and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. You can enjoy the pudding while warm, but its flavour will improve after chilling overnight in the fridge. You can gently reheat leftovers in the microwave or over low heat on the stove.

To brûlée the rice pudding, divide the hot rice pudding into ramekins, press the top of the pudding until it is level with the rim of the ramekin, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for 2 hours (or up to 2 days). Preheat the broiler to 500 (or high) and arrange the oven rack so that it is in the top position. Spoon sugar over the top of the rice pudding to coat it entirely, then gently tap/shake off the excess to create a thin, even layer of sugar. Repeat with the remaining ramekins and place them on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet of ramekins under the preheated broiler and broil, rotating the pan occasionally, until the sugar is a caramelized brown with darker brown patches. Keep a close eye on the ramekins in the oven to prevent them from burning. Alternatively, use a kitchen torch to brûlée the tops.

Once the sugar is caramelized, allow the ramekins to cool for 3-5 minutes to allow the caramelized top time to harden up, then serve.

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