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Classic milk puddings revisited

Does the idea of rice or tapioca pudding fill you with warm thoughts or bad memories of nasty puddings from the past? Try these classic dishes made new, to discover the comforts of a lovingly made milk pudding, using the freshest creamy milk – or coconut or soy milk for a lighter touch. Add toasted nuts and seasonal fruity toppings for extra flavour. All desserts can be served warm or cold, and if covered, will keep for several days in the fridge. 

Egg Custard with Cranberries 

Classic custard, made with eggs and vanilla, is super simple to whip up. For best results, use fresh milk and quality vanilla.   

2 cups full-cream milk 
2 free-range eggs 
1/3 cup sugar, we used Organic Fairtrade Cane Sugar*  
2 tbsp organic cornflour*  
1 tsp vanilla, we used Singing Dog Vanilla Bean Paste
dried organic cranberries*
coconut flakes, we used Ceres Organics Coconut Chips

Warm milk in a small saucepan until bubbles form around edge. Remove from heat. Whisk eggs, sugar and cornflour together in a small bowl and pour slowly into milk, whisking constantly to prevent the egg from clumping. Return to medium heat and continue stirring until simmering. Once thickened, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
Serve with lightly toasted coconut flakes
and dried cranberries.  

 

Junket with Rhubarb 

Junket is a simple milk pudding dating from medieval times. It’s made using rennet, an enzyme that coagulates warmed milk, creating curds. Junket has a delicate flavour, so is best made using the freshest milk. We used Origin Earth Milk, from Hawke’s Bay. 

600ml milk
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp liquid rennet
nutmeg, freshly grated

Gently heat the milk until just warm to the finger (approximately 43°C). Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until dissolved. Add the rennet, stirring gently.
Pour into a shallow dish and leave covered for ten minutes to set. Carefully place in fridge to chill. 
Serve with a sprinkling of grated nutmeg.
Good tip: It’s important to use only ordinary pasteurised milk for junket. In order not to kill the rennet enzyme, care must be taken not to overheat the milk, nor to cool it too rapidly. Once set, junket shouldn’t be disturbed until served, as once cut, the whey separates from the curds. 

 

Coconut Sago with Passionfruit and Mango 

Sago is a starch extracted from palm-tree stems. Sago pearls can be used to make numerous sweet puddings – this version is light and tropical. 

1 cup dry sago pearls
4 cups light coconut milk, we used Coconut Dream Original Enriched*
2-3 tbsp palm sugar, grated pulp of 2 fresh passionfruit
banana, sliced
dried mango, we used Trade Aid Dried Mango*   
1 cup coconut cream 

Follow instructions for Soy Milk Tapioca (below), allowing for slightly shorter cooking times, as the smaller sago pearls are faster to cook. Once cooked set aside in a bowl to cool and set.
If you want you can invert this onto a platter (as you might a jelly) to serve.  
Serve with dollops of coconut cream and garnished with passionfruit, mango and banana slices.


Soy Milk Tapioca with Plum and Almonds 

Tapioca is a gluten-free starch product derived from the manioc or cassava plant, cultivated worldwide for its many uses. Tapioca’s texture is not to everyone’s taste but it makes a delicious gluten- and dairy-free dessert.

3 cups soy milk, we used Pacific Natural Foods Organic Soy Milk*
1/2 cup tapioca pearls*
1/2 cup sugar, we used Organic Fairtrade Cane Sugar*
1 tsp vanilla, we used Singing Dog Vanilla Bean Paste 
pinch of salt
flaked almonds, lightly toasted

Place 1 cup of the soy milk and the tapioca pearls in a medium saucepan and stir. Set aside to soak for 1 hour.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Place the pan over medium heat and cook, whisking frequently, until the mixture comes to a simmer. Do not let boil, but reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer, stirring frequently, for 20-35 minutes, until the mixture thickens and the pearls are softened and translucent. 

Serve warm or cold, with flaked almonds. Like semolina, this pudding thickens as it cools. If serving cold, add more milk for a softer texture. 


Semolina with Apricot 

Semolina is a coarse flour ground from durum wheat, used to make pasta, breakfast cereals, puddings, couscous, and many delicious desserts. 

600ml milk
4 tbsp organic semolina*
2-3 tbsp palm sugar, grated
nutmeg, freshly grated
clotted cream
apricot sauce 

Mix milk, semolina and sugar together in a saucepan and cook on moderate heat, stirring contantly, until the mixture thickens. 
Serve hot or cold, with cream and fruit. The pudding will thicken as it cools, so if serving cold, stir in more milk for a softer texture. 


Semolina with Almonds 

600ml almond milk, we used Pacific Natural Foods Organic Almond Milk
3 tbsp semolina
2-3 tbsp palm sugar, grated
1/4 cup raisins, we used Ceres Organics Raisins 
yoghurt for serving 
almonds, lighty toasted, we used Ceres Organics Whole Almonds

Follow instructions for semolina with apricot, above. 


 

Creamy white and red rice pudding 

Rice pudding is made in nearly every part of the world. This version combines soft creamy white rice with nutty red rice.

2 1/2 cups (600ml) whole milk
1/3 cup short-grain white rice, we used Ceres Organics Arborio Rice 
1 cinnamon stick 
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cream 
1/4 cup cane sugar 
1 tsp vanilla, we used Singing Dog Vanilla Bean Paste

In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the milk, rice, salt and cinnamon to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20-25 minutes until the rice softens and the pudding thickens. Stir frequently to prevent rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Stir in cream, sugar and vanilla. Simmer on a low heat for another 10 minutes until the sugar dissolves. Remove cinnamon stick and set aside. 

1/3 cup red rice, we used Ceres Organics Red Rice  
1-11/2 cups water
11/2 tbsp dark sugar, we used
Billington’s Dark Muscovado Sugar
2 green cardamon pods, crushed

Cook as above, adding more or less water depending on how soft you prefer the red rice. Combine the two rice puddings and sprinkle with cardamon pods to serve. 

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