Rice Pudding with Honey-Soaked Fruit

Rice pudding is the perfect comfort food for this time of year and the creamy richness of the rice is perfectly complimented by the sweetness of the honey-soaked fruit. Traditionally a Middle Eastern dessert, this recipe is a great grown up treat with the addition of coffee.

Great served warm or at room temperature.

Serves 8-10

Cooking Time: 45-60 minutes plus resting time

Ingredients

For rice pudding
1 litre whole milk, plus extra (optional)
400ml double cream
200g pudding rice
150g light brown soft sugar
150ml freshly brewed espresso (or strong instant coffee if you don't have a coffee machine)
2 tsp vanilla bean paste

For soaked fruit
150ml clear honey
2 oranges, finely grated zest and juice
1 long cinnamon stick
400ml mixed dried fruit of your choice, roughly chopped (we like sultanas, apricots and cranberries)
Handful unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped to garnish

Method

1. Put all the rice pudding ingredients in a large heavy-based saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring often, for about 45-60 minutes until the rice is al dente. Keep an eye on it once it starts to thicken up as it can catch on the bottom of the pan. If the rice starts to dry out before it's ready, add some of the extra milk.

2. While the rice is cooking, put the honey, 200ml water, orange zest and juice in a pan over a medium heat. Add the cinnamon stick and bring to a simmer. Add the fruit, reduce the heat and cook for 2-3 minutes, letting the mixture steam but not bubble. Turn off the heat and leave the fruit to steep until the rice is ready.

3. Once the rice pudding is al dente, turn off the heat, cover the top with a piece of clingfilm, directly touching the surface to stop a skin forming, then leave it to rest. Drain the fruit in a sieve set over a bowl to catch the juices. Set the fruit aside and return the juices to the pan. Bring to the boil and reduce for around 10 minutes until syrupy.

4. To serve, divide the rice pudding among the bowls. Top with a couple of spoonfuls of the dried fruit, a generous drizzle of the syrup and a scattering of pistachios.

Notes:

  • Cool, cover and chill the pudding up to 24 hours ahead. Reheat or bring up to room temperature to serve, although it's great fridge cold too.
  • Keep any leftover fruit in an airtight container for up to a week and serve spooned over yoghurt, porridge or ice cream.