Citrus Lemongrass Rice Pudding

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Rice pudding 2

In the ongoing whirlwind that surrounds finishing up a dissertation and thinking about moving to start a new job, my crockpot has been a life saver or, I should say, a dinner saver.  And sometimes a dessert saver, as in the case of this recipe.

Rice pudding is one of my favorite desserts, but it’s pretty time intensive.  Most recipes require a lot of standing and stirring – but not this one.  This recipe lets the crockpot do all the work.  And it’s a fun tropical twist on traditional rice pudding, bringing together coconut milk, lemongrass, and citrus zest in a spunky dessert to ward off The Winter That Never Ends.

Rice pudding 4

Citrus Lemongrass Rice Pudding
adapted from the Lexington Herald-Leader
makes 4 servings

2 1/2 inches lemongrass, smashed and finely chopped OR 1 1/2 tsp. lemongrass paste
1 1/2 cups milk (1% or 2%)
one 13.5 ounce can coconut milk (not the low-fat)
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup medium-grain rice
1 tsp. grated citrus zest – lemon, lime, orange, or a mixture
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract or vanilla paste
a sprinkle of cardamom

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the lemongrass milk, coconut milk, sugar, and salt. (If you’re using chopped lemongrass, tie it up into a piece of cheesecloth.) When the mixture is hot, but not quite boiling, pour it into the slow cooker and add the rice. Stir.

2. Cover and cook on low for 2-2 1/2 hours, until the mixture is bubbling at the edges and nearly all the liquid has been absorbed. When the pudding is done, remove the cheesecloth (if using chopped lemongrass). Stir in the citrus zest, vanilla, and cardamom and serve. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.