California Rice Pudding with Pears

By Julie Cader

Lately, the fresh pears from the market have been scrumptious! In my quest to create a yummy rice pudding dessert, this amazing recipe provides your taste buds with the soft texture of the sweet rice pudding, along with the crunchiness of a chocolate-coated rice cereal topping. Serves 10-12.

Ingredients

Rice Pudding
3/4 cup California Koshihikari Short Grain rice
4 cups milk
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Spice World Squeeze Ginger
¾ cup pure cane sugar
1 tablespoon each of milk and cornstarch, for roux
2 jumbo eggs
2-3 fresh pears, peeled, cored and chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Chocolate-Coated Rice Cereal
4 squares Lindt 70% Cocoa, Smooth Dark Chocolate
4 tablespoons Rice Chex cereal, unbroken

Directions
Spray 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray, set aside, and preheat oven to 350ºF.

Melt chocolate squares in microwave until smooth. Gently stir in cereal to thoroughly coat each piece and place on wax paper. Set aside coated cereal to cool.

Combine California rice, 4 cups of milk, salt, ginger and sugar in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover saucepan with lid, reduce heat and slowly simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

For the roux, combine the milk and cornstarch, stirring until smooth. Stir the roux into the rice mixture, stirring constantly at a boil for about one minute. Remove saucepan from heat.

Lightly beat the eggs and gradually stir 1 cup of the rice mixture into the eggs, to temper. Then add back to the remaining rice, stirring constantly until well blended. Stir in chopped pears and vanilla and pour mixture into prepared baking dish.
Combine brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over rice mixture.

Bake at 350ºF for 45 minutes or until pudding is set and top has a light brown crust. Remove from oven and add chocolate-coated rice cereal to the top, or spoon rice pudding into dessert bowls and top with coated cereal. Serve warm.


Julie is the former Finance & Administration Manager for the California Rice Commission, and a big proponent of trying new recipes- especially if they feature California rice.