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Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding with Saucy Tart Cherries

A creamy rice pudding that's baked in the oven, and topped with jammy tart cherries.
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Prep Time :20 minutes
Cook Time :1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time :2 hours
Yield: 6 servings
Author: Amanda Paa

SCALE:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup jasmine rice
  • 3 1/2 cups of whole or 2% milk do not go less than that in terms of fat
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 of one vanilla bean seeds scraped out

Cherry Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen Montmorency tart cherries thawed + 3 tablespoons of their juice from thawing
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2-3 teaspoons tapioca starch or cornstarch

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  • In a large gratin dish (holds at least 6 cups), combine rice, milk, maple syrup, salt and seeds of vanilla bean. Stir to combine and set empty vanilla bean half on top.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, stir. Continue baking for 30 more minutes, then stir. At this point there will be a bit of skin that you are stirring back in stir back in. Cook for 30 more minutes. The rice will plump and start to become a more noticeable part of the mixture and the skin becomes more visible and darker. The pudding is getting close, bake 5 more minutes.
  • Take the dish out and set it on the counter. You will see that once it sits for even a minute, even though you don’t think it’s done, it will start to sink in just from this short test, a sign it is absorbing the liquid.
  • Now broil on low for 3 minutes, until you get some brown spots on top. Take out and it may seem a little liquidy still, which is how it should be because it will thicken by letting cool for at least one hour. If you chill it overnight in the refrigerator, it will be very thick.
  • Then serve with saucy cherries, below.
  • While the rice is baking, make the cherries. Add frozen tart cherries, honey, tart cherry juice, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for 12 minutes, stirring a few times. Then dissolve the tapioca starch in water, and stir into mixture. Cook for another minute, until thickened.

Notes

You’ll think there’s too much liquid, even after you pull it from the oven, but patience is a virtue here. As it cools, the rice (I used jasmine) continues to soak up the rice and plump, especially once it's refrigerated. It will end up creamy and comforting, the rice tender, but not falling part. Best served at room temperature.