Chai Rice Pudding
If the world were ending, I might just whip up this decadent treat as my finale. A rice pudding that you don’t have to stir for an hour? Now that makes me weak in the knees. Other reasons to swoon over this dessert: the incredible creaminess and the delicate blend of spices that sing in perfect harmony with the apples, raisins, and maple syrup. Reprinted with permission from The Blender Girl* by Tess Masters, © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC. Photography © 2014 by Anson Smart.
Serves: 6 to 8
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 apples, peeled, cored, and cubed
- 1 cup canned coconut milk (shake, then pour)
- 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pinch of ground cloves
- Pinch of natural salt
- 3 cups cooked short-grain brown rice (soft but not mushy)
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (strained if homemade)
- 1/3 cup chopped raw pistachios
In a saucepan over high heat, bring the 1/4 cup of maple syrup and the water to a boil (this should take less than a minute). As soon as the mixture bubbles, reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the apples. Cook the apples for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they caramelize lightly and soften slightly but remain mostly firm.
While the apples are cooking, put the coconut milk, the remaining 3 tablespoons of maple syrup, the vanilla, ginger, spices, and salt into your blender and blast on medium-high for about 10 seconds, until combined.
Add 1 1/2 cups of the rice and process on medium-low for a few seconds, until creamy but rustic. (If you’re using a high-speed blender, be careful of overdoing it; you don’t want a completely smooth blend here, and it can happen quickly. The pudding will be goopy if you overblend. If you’re using a conventional blender, your machine will let you know when the mixture is ready; it’ll thicken and be difficult to blend.)
Add the blended mixture and the raisins to the cooked apples and stir to combine. Stir in 1/2 cup of the almond milk and the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cooked rice. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the mixture thickens slightly.
Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of almond milk and simmer for 5 minutes more, until you have your desired consistency (I take my rice pudding off the heat as soon as the liquid has been absorbed). Tweak the maple syrup to taste.
Serve warm, at room temperature, or even chilled; add 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup milk if you serve it chilled, to soften it up. Sprinkle pistachios on each serving.
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