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Refreshing light but creamy, mellowed with coconut, layered with fresh and sweet mango that infused with basil, it sure comforts and cools.

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I’m sure I did mention before that I’m big pudding fan, but here you’ll read it again. I love pudding, any type, any flavor. Rice pudding is on the top, but this is the one rice pudding that can actually feel refreshing. Custardy and creamy, it taste like nothing I’d ever seen rice do, and yet comfortingly familiar, milk and sugar being the first things to teach us what delicious means. To make it looser and lighter, I finish it by stirring in coconut milk, which also adds its own sweet, tropical character to it. part of it is how you can make it more looser and serve it colder, layered with fresh mango infused with aromatic fresh basil, so it sure cools you.

Coconut Rice Pudding Parfait with Mango and Basil

2 1/2 cups water
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup short grain white rice such as Japanese or Arborio
2 cups whole milk
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) coconut milk
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
14 fresh basil leaves
2 large firm, ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted and finely chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice

In a large, heavy saucepan over high heat, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the rice, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and let the rice stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir the milk, coconut milk, brown sugar and granulated sugar into the rice.

Bring the mixture just to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and cook at a bare simmer, stirring frequently at first and constantly toward the end, for about 30 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and creamy and the rice is soft.

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Transfer the rice to a bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring frequently to keep a skin from forming. Refrigerate the rice pudding, tightly covered, for at least 4 hours, or until thoroughly chilled and set.

To serve, cut 6 basil leaves into fine shreds. In a medium bowl, stir together the mango, shredded basil and lime juice. Spoon 1/2 cup rice pudding into each of 8 short glasses.

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Add 2 tablespoons of the mango mixture to each, then top with about 1/4 cup pudding. Finish with 2 more tablespoons of the mango mixture. Garnish each serving with a whole basil leaf.

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