I’m trying to become the kind of baker who is always five steps ahead. I
used to be still am the kind of baker who realizes she forgot the eggs at the store for the chocolate mousse or sometimes forgets to start the slow-roasted tomatoes ahead of time. Thankfully working at the bakery has largely changed the way I plan, move, and juggle things in the kitchen.
I have loved baking and cooking since I was little, but I never imagined I would actually be a baker by profession. It’s been quite an adjustment from sitting on my yoga ball at the nonprofit, jumping from meeting to meeting and answering emails all day. I would say I’ve loved every minute of it if it weren’t for the initial wrist/back/feet/exhaustion issues that come with a standing, labor-intensive job, but my co-worker told me at the beginning, “Yeah, your body will fall apart, but don’t worry, it will all come back together soon.” I didn’t believe her at the time, but thank goodness she was right.
I have learned A LOT at the bakehouse, it’s something I truly enjoy, and I’m excited knowing that I still have a lot to learn. So while I may have forgotten the Arborio rice at the store, I did start this Coconut Vanilla Rice Pudding ahead of time to give it ample time to cool before my dinner guests arrived :)
This rice pudding is decadent – in addition to the milk rice puddings usually get, this one has the added luxury of velvety coconut milk. The vanilla bean and coconut shreds also give the pudding a nice pop of bold flavor and texture. Top with toasted coconut chips for an extra crunch. Here’s what I did…
Coconut Vanilla Rice Pudding
adapted from Food and Wine
• 1 quart whole milk
• 1 cup Arborio rice
• ½ cup sugar
• 1 vanilla bean, sliced in half and seeds scraped (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• One 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
• ¼ cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
• ½ cup unsweetened coconut chips, lightly toasted
In a medium pot, combine the milk, rice, sugar, scraped vanilla bean, and salt with 2 cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil.
Simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender but al dente – about 30 minutes. It should look thick and creamy. Stir in the coconut milk and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice is very tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean pod. Stir in the finely shredded coconut. Let the pudding cool.
Serve the pudding in small bowls, and garnish with the toasted coconut chips. Serve room temperature or cool. Enjoy!