I’m guilty of having overlooked rice pudding for many years as a genuinely excellent source of sweetness, but really, what’s not to love? For being beyond fickle when it comes to settling on a texture for my dessert, I ought to be all over rice pudding for it’s lush and creamy custard studded with chewy, toothsome bits of rice. Sadly, not until about a month ago. I made a coconut rice pudding with arborio (risotto) rice and couldn’t keep my spoon away. It’s only natural that now I would take it a step further and take rice pudding to the ice cream maker. Brace yourselves!
A couple of days ago, I bought an amazing book that I hope any of you who are madly in love with the making of ice cream will seek out. It’s Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At Home by Jeni Britton Bauer of ice cream fame as the ice cream artisan behind Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Ohio. Her flavors are totally mind-bending, but not in a Ben&Jerry’s kind of way where you feel like she just tossed as many crazy things as possible into a pint. Her flavors are inspiring in the way where subtleties stake their claim, and the highest quality seasonal ingredients are allowed to simply be.
I was leafing through the book, trying to decide which frozen creation I’d try out first when I found toasted rice ice cream with a whiff of coconut and black tea. I told my book to say no more.
I took two small liberties with this recipes. Firstly, I replaced the jasmine rice with arborio because it’s what I had on hand. My guess is that the jasmine rice is exceptionally more fragrant and perfect. The second swap I made was with the tea. Instead of black tea, I used an herbal vanilla-hazelnut variety.
Lastly, in attempt to give my waffle iron a rest, I made some no-bake chocolate walnut coconut cookies to eat this decadent ice cream on. My original thought was to shape them into bowls, but that didn’t go as planned. They’re a bit on the brittle side to be used for an ice cream sandwich, but eating the ice cream simply on top of them is a good idea.
P.S The cookies can be made vegan if you use a vegan chocolate!
Toasted Rice Ice Cream (With a Whiff of Coconut & Black Tea)
Recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At Home
Makes about 1 quart
Rice Pudding Ingredients
1/3 C Jasmine Rice
One 14oz Can Unsweetened Coconut Milk (not light)
1/3 C Sugar
Ice Cream Base Ingredients
1 ½ C Whole Milk
1 T + 1 tsp Cornstarch
1 ½ oz Cream Cheese, softened
¼ tsp Fine Sea Salt
1 C Heavy Cream
½ C Sugar
2 T Light Corn Syrup
2 T Black Tea Leaves such as Oolong or Darjeeling
For the toasted rice pudding: Toast the rice in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, shaking the pan and stirring the rice occasionally, until evenly browned and the color of brown sugar. Reduce the heat to low, add the coconut milk, and stir in the sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer, stirring occasionally at the beginning and more often toward the end of cooking as the liquid is absorbed, 20-25 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
For the ice cream base: Mix about 2 T of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the tea and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain the milk mixture through a fine sieve, pressing on the tea leaves to extract as much cream as possible. Return to the saucepan and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the rice pudding and blend well. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc bag ad submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more water as necessary until cold, about 30 minutes.
Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister [of your ice cream maker] and spin until thick and creamy. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
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No-Bake Chocolate Walnut Rounds
Makes about Six 3” Rounds
1 ½ C Walnut pieces
1/3 C Sugar
1/3 C Shredded, Unsweetened Coconut
2 T Coconut Oil
2 oz Dark Chocolate (from a bar, not chips) finely chopped
Pulse walnuts and sugar together in a food processor until a coarse meal forms. Transfer to a large bowl and add in shredded coconut. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the coconut oil. When oil is melted, stir in dark chocolate and stir vigorously until chocolate has melted. Pour melted chocolate over walnut meal. Either stir, or use your hands to well incorporate the melted chocolate with the meal. The mixture should be sticky but still somewhat on the dry side. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Using a 3” cookie cutter, press the wet meal into the cookie cutter on the parchment, until you have a tightly packed disc about ¼” high. Carefully pull the cookie cutter up from the chocolate. It should retain its shape. Repeat until chocolate mixture is gone. Refrigerate (or freeze for a more brittle but equally delicious texture) for at least one hour before using.