We love rice pudding in this house. While my husband would be more than happy to eat the dairy version...it is like kryptonite to my species. Despite all the non-vegan foods that I make and post, personally I eat as animal free as possible with two notable exceptions; feta cheese and greek yogurt!
The first time I ever prepared my vegan rice pudding for him, he made a face like he'd just drank curdled milk and declared that he would "pass" on the dessert. A few minutes later, I caught him skulking around the kitchen with a spoon and an ambivalent look on his face. That first bite was a true epiphany!
There's no big secret to making coconut milk rice pudding unless of course it's using the wrong kind of rice or overcooking it. The former will result in a loose watery bowl of sweet rice and the latter...a glop of sweet starchy mush.
I have tried to "healthify" rice pudding a bit further by using brown rice but it comes out more like a breakfast porridge than a dessert. It just isn't the same. However, if you prefer that to the creamier, more custard-like consistency of rice pudding; by all means, knock yourself out.
The ingredient list is short, the recipe simple and yet the end product is sinfully delicious. Add ins depend upon your likes but the basic recipe is as follows.
Vegan Coconut Rice Pudding with Gingered Peach Compote
- 1 1/2 cups long grain organic jasmine rice
- 2 1/2 cups water
- pinch of kosher salt
- 3 cups full fat organic coconut milk
- 1/2 cup raw Coconut Crystals*
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons Coconut butter**
- optional ground cinnamon for top of pudding
- 3 fresh organic peaches; peeled, pitted and diced
- 1/2 inch peeled fresh ginger, grated
- 3 tablespoons raw coconut syrup or raw blue agave*
- 1/2 cup water, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon arrowroot
- Bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil; add salt and jasmine rice. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until water is absorbed. The rice will still be a little undercooked due to the water/rice ratio.
- To the rice; add coconut milk, coconut crystals and ground cardamom. Return to heat and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered until thick and creamy. You will need to stir often. Most of the coconut milk will get absorbed.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract and coconut butter. Stir to combine. Turn pudding out into a 2 quart glass dish. Immediately cover the entire top of the pudding with ground cinnamon if using. This makes a "crust" that prevents pudding from forming a skin and it tastes great too! Pudding may be served warm or cold.
To prepare the Gingered Peach Compote:
- Place prepared peaches, raw coconut syrup or agave and grated ginger and 1/4 cup of the water in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and cook until peaches are tender.
- In a cup, combine remaining 1/4 cup of water with arrowroot to make a slurry. Stir this mixture into the peaches and cook 2-3 minutes until thickened and sauce has lost its cloudy appearance. Serve warm of cold over top Coconut Rice Pudding.
*For those not familiar with raw coconut crystals, they are sold under the brand name "Coconut Secret" (there may be others but this is the only brand I've been able to get). Raw coconut crystals are 100% pure dehydrated coconut tree sap. They are gluten-free, unbleached, unrefined, non-gmo and vegan.
Coconut trees are tapped for their nutrient-rich sap which comes from the blossoms. It is a low glycemic index sweetener coming in at 30 calories, 7 carbohydrates and 7 sugars per tablespoon. With a GI of 35, it is a more diabetic-friendly sweetener than sugar.
Since the product is raw (evaporated at a low temperature for only 90 minutes) the abundant minerals and enzymes have been retained. Coconut crystals contain 17 amino acids, vitamin C, broad-spectrum B vitamins and a nearly neutral ph. The evaporation process preserves the live enzymes as it's drying temperature is consistent with the average temperature in the tropics. By way of contrast; brown sugar is boiled at 220 degrees with an end product containing 93% sucrose. Coconut Sap Crystals contain 16% sucrose.
The product is also available in a syrup form which I used as the primary sweetener for the peach compote. If you cannot obtain raw coconut crystals or syrup you may sub succanat in the pudding and raw agave in the compote.
Nutritional information for Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Crystals comes from the label of the canister and is provided by the producers of the product. I have not been contacted or compensated in any way by Coconut Secret. I'm simply sharing what I feel is an extremely wonderful product.
** Coconut Butter or Concentrated Coconut Cream can be found in some health food stores or you can order it online from http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/
If you don't have any coconut butter, you may substitute coconut oil or even some Earth Balance vegan margarine.