Coconut and Cardamom Rice Pudding

Coconut and Cardamom Rice Pudding

Remember rice pudding at school, chalky rice congealing in tasteless gloop.

Well, this rice pudding is exactly like that.  Enjoy!

Just kidding, of course it’s not, it’s worse.

Just kidding, of course it’s not, it’s amazing!

Chuck any preconceptions you have about rice pudding in the bin as I’ve gone for something a bit different today.  Generally considered a nursery pudding due to the fact most of us ate a version of the congealing gloop at nursery school, it can have the tendency to be a big bowl of stodge.  This recipe is much more delicate and fragrant thanks to baking the rice in coconut milk rather than your normal whole fat and fancying up the whole affair with the warming spice of cardamom.  I’ve also thrown out the rice pudding text book which advocates a simple silky texture and instead scattered a handful of coconut flakes to the top which accentuates the coconut and gives a lovely crunch.

Coconut and Cardamom Rice Pudding2

The recipe was developed on the back of my current obsession with cardamom – at the moment I am looking to add it to everything and this past week I have been road testing the spice with all sorts of desserts and savouries.  If I see a recipe on pinterest that’s using cardamom then I’ve pinned it to my board quicker than a puppy chasing cheese.  This particular use here is my favourite so far as I love the softness of the coconut balancing with the burst of fragrant cardamom you get every other mouthful.  It makes for a very grown up interpretation of a kitchen classic.

The use of coconut milk also means that the recipe is delightfully dairy free.  I would thoroughly recommend Pride coconut milk as well which is easily obtainable in Sainsburys.  The only reason I mention it rather than allowing you to make up your own adult minds is that it’s half the price of other brands – about 80p, including supermarket’s own and has a very thick consistency.  So often I have been gipped by other brands which are too thin and have ruined recipes by making them bland and watery.

Coconut and Cardamom Rice Pudding4

I had a very definite idea of what I wanted from this rice pudding and after an hour or so of researching quantities in my oven baked coconut milk rice pudding I pleasingly found Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall’s recipe in the Guardian online.  I have nothing to prove and his recipe followed nicely the direction I had hoped to take.  So I swapped a few ingredients around and produced the below.  Now, I do have to apologise, mainly to Felicity Cloake from the Guardian, who berated writers for not using pudding rice in their recipes, asking us to stand up for our great national puddings.  However, since I’m not a writer, I’m a home cook and bearing in mind I have already tinkered about with the classic dish so much I didn’t bother going to the shops to get the pudding rice when I had plenty of arborio to hand.  It worked a treat.

Coconut and rice Pudding 3

Coconut and Cardamom Rice Pudding

Serves 4

Butter for greasing
80g pudding rice / arborio rice
65g caster sugar
400ml tin coconut milk
½ vanilla pod, cut in two, seeds removed
4 green cardamom pods, seeds removed
25g coconut flakes, toasted

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C.
  2. Grease a shallow baking dish which holds about 1.5 litres.
  3. In a large bowl mix together the rice, sugar, coconut milk, vanilla seeds and cardamom seeds. Fill the empty tin of coconut milk with water and mix in as well.
  4. Pour into the greased dish and bake for 1¾ hrs, making sure to stir well 3 or 4 times during the cooking time.
  5. Scatter over the coconut flakes and serve.

Bounty Cake {gluten-free}

The Coconuttiest Gluten-Free Bounty Cake in town

Did Bounty ever have a TV ad? If it did, I don’t remember it. Does this mean that it was such a popular chocolate bar that it didn’t need to advertise. The Bounty knew how amazing it was already. Adverts were for loser chocolate bars, Bounty was far too superior for that, it didn’t need to tarnish itself with lame slogans and cartoon rabbits. There is a word in our house for that kind of attitude Mr Bounty, Smuggo. But it shouldn’t be too complacent in its glory as I was not a big fan growing up. I think it was a chocolate bar designed for adults. I certainly remember my mum always choosing Bounties which we could never understand. Although I think this was clever planning on her part, as she could be confident that we wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole. The chocolate was good but the coconut? Yuk. Give me a Boost and be done.

Now though, I’m partial to a bit of coconut (Chocolate has long been my soul mate. I love you chocolate, always be mine) which is present here four fold. This recipe includes coconut milk, dessicated coconut for that authentic Bounty taste, coconut flour and in keeping with the idea that Bounty is really adult terrain I have gone one better and added grown-up Calpol just to seal the deal. Malibu. Which did have a commercial and a slogan which I love to sing-song with glee whenever I bring it out of the drinks cabinet ‘the sun always shines when it pours’. It does, it really does.
The Coconuttiest Gluten-Free Bounty Cake in town

I almost didn’t mention that this wonderful cake was gluten free in the title as I didn’t want you to get all huffy and skip it. Please don’t though as this cake has seriously passed the gluten-free haters test, namely my husband, and I would happily make this time and time again for anyone and everyone. As with the gluten-free sticky toffee cake last week the key is adding in as much extra moisture as you can. This time around, as well as the Malibu and the coconut milk in the cake batter, I used a sugar syrup which is brushed over the cake after baking. The warm sponge soaks up the delicious Malibu syrup, making the cake sticky, moist and scrumptious.

If you have never tried swiss meringue buttercream then you must have a go on your next cake. Do not be put off by the slightly complicated method, it’s really quite easy. If you find normal buttercream a bit sweet and heavy then this is definitely the frosting for you as it’s the most light velvety buttercream you will ever taste. Rosie Alyea, on her blog Sweetapolita, gives an extremely thorough explanation with photos if you are a bit nervous. You could use fresh egg whites but since you need so many then I recommend you use Two Chicks egg whites which come in a handy carton. You only need half the carton so you can freeze the rest ready for your next swiss meringue buttercream cake as after you’ve tried it once you will never go back.

The Coconuttiest Gluten-Free Bounty Cake in town

Bounty Cake (gluten-free)

For the coconut cake:
200ml coconut milk
60ml Malibu
50g dessicated coconut
2 tsp vanilla extract
300g caster sugar
300g unsalted butter
6 eggs
250g gluten free flour
50g coconut flour
2 tsp baking powder

For the sugar syrup:
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp Malibu
2 tbsp water

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and prepare 2 x 8” sandwich tins.
  2. Pour the coconut milk, Malibu, dessicated coconut and vanilla extract into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for a couple of minutes, giving it a good stir, then turn off the heat and let sit for 30 mins.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs in one at a time, don’t worry if the mixture looks a bit lumpy it will come together.
  5. Sift the flours and baking powder together.
  6. Add the flour alternately with the coconut mixture, adding the flour in three additions and the milk in two (begin and end with the flour), scrape down the sides of the bowls as needed and mix until just combined.
  7. Divide the cake batter between the two sandwich tins and bake for around 18-20 mins until the cake starts to brown and come away from the sides.
  8. Meanwhile you can make the sugar syrup. Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for around three mins then turn off the heat.
  9. When the cakes are ready, take them out of their tins after five mins resting. Poke the top of the cakes several times with a cocktail stick.
  10. Brush the sugar syrup all over the two cakes, then leave them to cool before slicing in half horizontally to make four sponge layers.

For the Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
8 egg whites (240g)
400g caster sugar
560g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
300g dark chocolate, melted then cooled.
A pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
100g coconut flakes to decorate

  1. Heat egg whites and caster sugar in a bain marie, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the temperature has reached 71°C.
  2. Remove the egg whites and sugar from the heat and pour into a stand mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
  3. Change the attachment to a paddle attachment. On a low speed add the butter slowly cube by cube. When you have almost added all the butter the mixture will look curdled. Do not fret – this is supposed to happen and just means you are nearly done. Just continue to add all the butter. Once the butter is totally incorporated the frosting will miraculously become a smooth velvety consistency.
  4. Add the salt, the vanilla extract and the melted chocolate. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. After frosting the cake, decorate with the coconut flakes.