Do you ever get a post-dinner craving for something both delicious and sweet? (Duh. That’s why we have that thing called “dessert.”) If you try to live even semi healthfully, the only options lying around your house are probably something like… a bruised Granny Smith apple, a sugar-free popsicle or a bowl of Cracklin’ Oat Bran with too much brown sugar. If you give in and make a run to the 7-11, you know you will be satisfying your sweet tooth with a) crappy chocolate b) stale oatmeal cookies that have absorbed the odor of the taquitos machine or c) Skittles.
So why not make this dessert? It takes only a little more time than a 7-11 run. You can make it with multi-purpose items that keep for months in your pantry. And, for a dessert at least, it’s not even all that unhealthy.
Coconut arborio rice pudding
Adapted almost-not-at-all from Food & Wine magazine, January 2010
1 quart milk (The original recipe calls for whole milk: I have made it very successfully with 2%)
1 cup arborio rice (The kind of rice you use for risotto. It’s available at my local grocery.)
1/2 cup sugar
1 14-ounce can of coconut milk
1/2 cup shredded,unsweetened coconut (The recipe insists upon this but I think it’s just a nice option. In my opinion, sweetened works just as well and it’s certainly easier to find.)
Combine milk, rice, sugar and 2 cups of water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer, stirring from time to time, for about half an hour or until rice is tender and milk mixture is creamy. Stir in coconut milk and continue simmering, stirring every now and then (or not–the recipe calls for lots of stirring but mine has been fine when I haven’t stirred more than once or twice) for about ten minutes–or until thickened.
While you are waiting (impatiently) to get your sweet on: In a small pan (nonstick is ideal) toast coconut over moderate heat, stirring or shaking pan frequently. This should take about 4 minutes but watch closely so it does not burn. Coconut is ready when golden and fragrant.
Spoon pudding into bowls. Garnish with toasted coconut.
The pudding is also delicious cold–i.e. for breakfast the following morning.