Monday, 8 December 2014

Coconut Crème Brûlée

Coconut Creme Brulee

I adore rice pudding, although I’ve heard that some find it stodgy and boring.  But this one is unlike any other I’ve come across.  It’s neither an English rice pudding nor an Indian kheer, but rather a combo of them both.  It’s made on the stove top like a kheer, but includes an egg, like the English pudding.  The addition of a crunchy brûlée makes it all the more delicious.

This recipe takes about thirty minutes to create, but it should chill for overnight, if possible.  It then requires a closely watched few minutes under a broiler about ten minutes before serving, so organization is required.  This recipe serves four, but could be stretched out to five if you added some kind of fruit, perhaps cherries?

I found the original recipe in Stephanie Eddy’s column in The Globe and Mail, but naturally I have fiddled with it.

1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter found in Indian grocery aisles)
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup basmati rice grains
1 can coconut milk (400 ml)
1 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 green cardamom pods, husked removed and ground to a powder
1 egg yolk
15 pitted cherries (optional)
4 to 5 tablespoons vanilla sugar for the brûlée

In a separate small bowl, whisk the egg yolk, vanilla sugar and vanilla.  (Substitute regular sugar for vanilla sugar if you must.)  Set aside.

In a medium sized pot, fry the dried coconut and cardamom powder in the ghee, on medium high.  When the kitchen fills with an amazing fragrance and the coconut becomes slightly golden, add the raw basmati rice, stirring and fry for another minute or so. 

Add the coconut and regular milks, stirring, and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to simmer, and let cook for fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally.  Once the rice is almost tender, stay with the pot and stir more often till the rice is very tender and soft, about another ten minutes.  Remove from heat.
It will be thick once the tempered egg is cooked in the hot rice,

With whisk in right hand, dribble a spoonful of the hot rice mixture into the egg mix, whisking furiously.  Add another spoonful of hot rice while continuing to whisk, and then a final spoonful of hot rice into the egg, whisking all the while.  By this time the egg will be tempered, so pour the egg and rice mixture back into the main pot, stirring to combine it well.  It will be cooked and fairly thick at this point. 

If you’re stretching this with fruit, place two or three pitted cherries into the bottoms of pretty ramekins.  Ladle enough rice pudding to reach just under the rim.  Cover with saran wrap and chill, over night if possible.

About fifteen minutes before serving, turn broiler onto high and sprinkle about a tablespoon of sugar over the top of each ramekin.  Place ramekins on a cookie sheet and when the broiler is hot, put just under it.  Stay with them, watching carefully.  Within a few minutes the sugar will melt and bubble.  When it gets golden brown, remove from the oven.  Let stand another five minutes so the sugar can re-harden and get crunchy. 

Ooh la lah, is what your guests will say.  Rice pudding might strike some as rather prosaic and tedious, but not this version.  Creamy with coconut, crunchy with the brûlée, fragrant with the cardamom, this dessert is one to serve to your favourite people!

Coconut Creme Brulee
Tasty and it looks gorgeous too!

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