3 surprise ingredients…
one week to create something amazing with them…
and get the recipe up on the blog…
The three ingredients, announced a week ago… (drumroll…) – Pistachios, Cranberries & Coconut Milk
Whew, all ingredients I love :-). AND, I had them all in the fridge already. Sweet! I got this!
*AT THE END OF THIS POST ARE LINKS TO EVERYONE’S MYSTERY BOX CREATIONS – SO MANY CREATIVE VEGAN CHEFS!*
The world of pistachio desserts, I discovered after a quick glance at Pinterest to get the gears rolling, is very very sad. The color that is expected, that weird green that reminds me of glow sticks, is definitely not natural and I still haven’t figured out why it seems so necessary. It’s freaky! I don’t want to eat something that looks like it was left behind by Slimer. Yeah, pistachios are green, I get it, but how about we let their color take its natural course. I know it’s not as visually exciting, and maybe I’m alone in this, but I don’t need it to be crazy bright green to want to eat it. Quite the opposite actually.
The second fun fact about pistachios, besides the penchant for glow in the dark status, is that it’s extremely hard to make something taste pistachio-y. This nut has a very mild, earthy flavor that is easily overshadowed, especially when it comes to baking. I thought I might be able to find an extract, to boost the pistachio flavor in addition to using the whole nuts, but a quick search of extracts quickly shot that idea down. Many are made with almond extract, to make up for the mildness of the pistachio, and the ones that claimed to be pure pistachio got horrible reviews. [side note: if you know of a good extract, please let me know :-)]
I know I’m obsessing over this way too much; I should have just chopped up some pistachios, thrown them in anything and called it a day but I couldn’t. Instead I mulled and contemplated and I’m pretty certain had some dreams about how to make a dessert taste like the real deal. It came to me finally – infuse them in the coconut milk, which would be a way to incorporate that ingredient too. Infusing is an awesome way to bring out mild, hard to capture flavors. Toasting the nuts before the infusing releases a lot of the natural oils so it’s a double flavor grab.
I didn’t really have time to refine the method, given the short space of time I had to pull the recipe together, so I think there can be more tweaking in the maximizing of the flavor, but it came out really good. The pudding is mild, earthy and definitely nutty, lightly sweet and very comforting. I hope you like it as much as I enjoyed creating it :-).
TL;DR: This tastes like pistachios. Not pistachio flavoring. There is a HUGE difference. Also it’s not green.
There are several steps to this recipe, a little bit of a stray from my normal lazier recipes, but none of them are difficult or hard to do at all. It just takes a bit of time. The candied cranberries take 12 hours to finish but only about 10 minutes of that time is actual work.
**This recipe makes 4 dessert size servings. I had it for breakfast two mornings in a row – yep, only 2 servings when your decide it’s a meal. 🙂 **
Toasted Pistachio Rice Pudding with Candied Cranberries
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup sugar + 3 tablespoons
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- In a saucepan, combine the water, 1/3 cup sugar and orange zest and heat to just a simmer until sugar is completely melted. Be careful not to let it boil or the cranberries will pop when you add them. If you think it’s too hot, it’s ok to let it sit for a minute or two before pouring over the cranberries.
- Measure out the cranberries into a small bowl, pour the sugar syrup over them, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight (a minimum of 8 hours).
- Drain the syrup (reserve it for something else fun?), and spread the cranberries on a parchment (or wax) paper lined sheet pan.
- Sprinkle two tablespoons of the remaining sugar over the cranberries and gently coat them as much as possible, using a utensil to move them around in the sugar.
- Let sit for 2 hours to dry.
- Sprinkle with remaining one tablespoon of sugar, again coating them completely.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.
Toasted Pistachio Rice Pudding
- 1/2 cup unsalted pistachios
- 1/2 cup unsweetened flake coconut
- 1/2 cup jasmine rice (can also use aborio)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup water
- 1 13.5 oz can full fat coconut milk
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F. In separate dishes, toast the pistachios and flaked coconut until they are lightly browned (it will be hard to see how dark the pistachios are getting so check them carefully), 7-10 minutes, checking them every couple of minutes so they don’t suddenly burn. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
- Make the rice by combining it in a small saucepan with the cinnamon stick, salt and water and simmering until almost all the water is gone and the rice is tender, 15 -20 minutes. Remove from heat, remove the cinnamon stick and set aside.
- Reserve 1 tablespoon of the toasted pistachios for decorating at the end. Combine the remaining with the can of coconut milk in a medium saucepan. Bring to just scalding (do not boil), and then remove from heat and let sit for 15 minutes to infuse the flavor.
- After 15 minutes, puree the pistachios and coconut milk together in a blender and then strain out the nut pulp – a cheesecloth works best for this.
- Pour the pistachio coconut milk back into the saucepan and add the rice, maple syrup, cardamom and vanilla. Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom. You will see the pudding getting thicker.
- Remove from heat, let cool and eat immediately if you like warm pudding (yes!) or chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of three hours. The chilling does help the flavor develop more but warm rice pudding is hard to resist in my book :-).
- Top with non-dairy whipped cream, candied cranberries, crushed toasted pistachios (the ones you reserved earlier) and toasted coconut flakes.
Go see what everyone else made!!!
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Cranberry Cheesecake & Pistachio Stuffed Vegan French Toast by Connoisseurus Veg
Pistachio Crusted Cranberry Cashew Coconut Cheese by Lemon and Coconut
Cranberry Pistachio and Mango Saladby Veggies Save the Day
Cranberry Cointreau Coconut Ice Cream with Candied Pistachios by Vegan Yack Attack
Cranberry Pistachio Donuts by Two City Vegans (Casey)
Cranberry Pistachio Gingersnap Truffles by Two City Vegans (Alix)
Warm Barley Bowl with Roasted Brussels, Sweet Potatoes and a Coconut Curry Dressing by Taste Space
Whole Wheat Cranberry Pistachio Vegan Biscotti by Veggie Inspired Journey
Coconut Pistachio Cashew Cheese Panini with Cranberry Jam by Peppers and Peaches
Pistachio and Cranberry Cream Sandwich Cookies by Love Me Feed Me
Vegan Meringue Nests with Cranberry Coconut Whip and Crushed Pistachiosby The Viet Vegan
Vegan Coconut Quinoa Salad by Beets Not Meats
Cranberry Orange & Pistachio Muffins With Vanilla Cream by A Virtual Vegan
Gourmet Lazy Cabbage Rolls by Choose to Cook
Sweet Potato Coconut Curry with Cranberries and Pistachios by The Tofu Diaries
Lebanese Semolina Pudding (Layali Lubnan) by Lands and Flavors
Vegan Chocolate Cranberry Cake by The Seasonal Diet
Jolly Bollywood Holiday Curry by Sexie Veggies