I drew inspiration for this dessert while browsing through the many fantastic recipes released by the New York Times Cooking. It’s based on a recipe adapted by Priya Krishna who sourced it from Sara Mardanbigi and Edgar Rico, the owners of Nixta Taqueria in Austin, Texas. The rice pudding is a take on sholeh zard, a Persian rice pudding, but it also is influenced by the Mexican dessert, arroz con leche (rice with milk).
After trying the recipe and loving the results, I have only changed a few ingredients and made some minor adjustments with the method. The spices and vanilla give an extra boost to this traditionally bland pudding. It almost has a savoury flavour to it, but this is balanced cleverly with the addition of the strawberry coulis sauce and cinnamon.
If you’re game to try something new for dessert, I guarantee this will be a pleaser!
Pistachio Rice Pudding
- 250g glutinous/short grain rice/milk pudding rice
- 750ml milk
- 250ml cream
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 green cardamom pod, crushed or ¼ teaspoon cardamon powder
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 2 saffron threads mixed in 1 tablespoon ice-cold water
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons butter, cubed
- 2 egg yolks
For the strawberry coulis sauce:
- 125g fresh or frozen strawberries
- 50g caster sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- Fresh strawberries
- A handful of salted, chopped pistachio nuts
- A dusting of cinnamon powder
- Crumble the saffron threads between your fingers and add it to the ice-cold water in a small bowl. Leave it to soak for 10 minutes.
2. Bring 1 litre of water to a boil in a large pot.
3. Add the rice, stirring often. Let the water continue to boil for 3 minutes. The rice is ready when the grains begin to soften around the edges, but still have a bite to it
4. Drain the water from the rice in a sieve or colander. Set it aside.
5. Rinse the pot with cold water to allow it to cool down. Return it to medium heat on the stove.
6. Add the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon stick, cardamon, turmeric, saffron water and salt. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally. Keep the heat at a constant temperature. The aim is to let the spices slowly infuse into the milk and cream for a rich flavour. This should take between 15 to 20 minutes.
7. Gradually add the rice. Turn the heat down to low and cover the pot. Allow to simmer from 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom so that no rice sticks to it. It will appear like a loose pudding and should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
8. While the rice pudding is cooking, make the strawberry coulis by mixing the strawberries, sugar and 3 tablespoons of water in a small pan.
9. Bring to the boil, then lower to a simmer on medium heat and allow the strawberries to cook down to a jam-like consistency. Add more water if it appears too dry. This should take 10 to 15 minutes for fresh strawberries and 15 to 20 minutes for frozen. Blend or mash with the back of a wooden spoon. Pour into a jug to garnish the pudding later. I like to keep some pulp intact to add a bit of texture, but if you like it completely smooth, blend it in a food processor.
10. Back to the rice, gradually add the butter cubes, mixing in thoroughly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool down for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
11. Mix in the egg yolks, one at a time. It is important that the rice has cooled down for 5 minutes, otherwise, the eggs will scramble and will make the pudding look unattractive. The pudding should look velvety.
12. Divide the rice pudding into ceramic bowls. Pour the strawberry coulis sauce over a third of the pudding. Garnish the remaining pudding with chopped pistachio and cinnamon powder.
- Serve warm or chilled
- Makes 6 servings
- Serve with fresh strawberries
- Keeps for 3 days chilled
- Not suitable to freeze