When I was a kid, every time we went to New York City my mother would take us to her favorite deli. We’d slurp bowls of matzo ball soup, share overstuffed pastrami sandwiches, and then tuck into a creamy bowl of rice pudding. Wolff’s Deli’s rice pudding was cool and sweet, laced with plenty of cinnamon and a generous helping of raisins. Wolff’s served their rice pudding with a swirl of whipped cream on top, but Mom and I would skip the cream, digging down deep in search of plump raisins. My brother would wrinkle his nose and shake his head and pat his pastrami-filled belly. I don’t know if he ever actually tried that rice pudding, but he insisted that he hated it.
Jeff hates it too. But that didn’t stop me from turning a take-out container of leftover brown rice into a sweet, exotic treat. I love cool, cinnamon-scented deli rice pudding. But this week, I wanted something a bit more tropical. Ok, that’s actually not true. The truth is that I just didn’t have any raisins. And along with that leftover rice, I had half a can of coconut milk languishing in my fridge. Basically, my cupboards were almost bare and I was hungry. So pina colada rice pudding was born.
I actually ate this rice pudding warm for breakfast. But I think that it would be lovely either warm or cold, for breakfast or dessert. I had some fancy flavored roasted cashews lying around too, so I sprinkled those on top. I think any toasted nut would be tasty, and give a bit of good crunch. I used a combination of skim milk and coconut milk, but if you are avoiding dairy I think that you could substitute almond milk for the skim milk and the results would be fantastic. I wouldn’t go for all coconut milk since it’s a bit heavy.
Pina Colada Rice Pudding
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup low-fat or skim milk
1 cup canned coconut milk (unsweetened)
1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/2 cup toasted chopped nuts of your choice (for garnish)
In a saucepan, bring the rice, milk, and coconut milk to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the pineapple, vanilla and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. This will take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the type of rice and how long you have left it sitting in your fridge. Serve warm topped with toasted chopped nuts or chill and serve cold topped with toasted chopped nuts.