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Autumnal Breakfast Rice Pudding (Dairy Free!)

I am really excited to share this recipe with you today. Not just because its two years since my very first post, but because of the lightbulb moment that went off in my mind as I devoured this bowl of rice pudding, standing by a window dressed in flannel tartan jim jams in between large slurps of black coffee. In that moment, I felt like I had finally started to understand free from recipes.

I haven’t mentioned it much on here, but I have been cutting down on my dairy intake, specifically milk, almost to the point where I don’t have it at all. I’ve swapped my little pint of semi-skimmed for almond and coconut milk and to be honest the only place I have noticed the difference is on my waistline. A portion of oats soaked in a good glug of the stuff makes a delicious and filling breakfast and my morning smoothie has a nice nutty edge from the almonds. But I have been reluctant to try cooking with it until I had an intense craving for rice pudding last week. I hesitantly whipped up this batch on a quiet, gloomy October morning and was hit by how simple and delicious it was.  And what’s more, I didn’t even notice it was made with coconut milk.

pumpkin spice rice pudding

I wanted to bring a comforting warmth to this pudding and the use of my favourite pumpkin pie spice filled my kitchen with the sweet and spicy notes of cloves, cinnamon and cardamom. The brown sugar dissolves into a beautiful caramel flavour that works well with just the tiniest amount of vanilla paste. Topped with my current obsession of toasted pecans and a good drizzle of maple syrup, this is the only way to truly kick start your day. What’s more, this recipe makes the perfect single portion. Sorry, I am not sharing mine…

 

You Will Need

70g arborio rice

260ml coconut milk (I use this one) + a little extra if required

1 packed tbsp soft light brown sugar

¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice mix

Dot of vanilla paste (optional)

 

To serve

2 pecans, toasted and chopped

Maple syrup for drizzling

 

Note: Naturally gluten free, risotto rice also makes this breakfast dessert hybrid completely free from however do check the packaging in case it has been processed in a factory handling gluten products, especially if you are medically gluten sensitive.

Four ingredients for autumnal rice pudding

In a heavy bottomed pan, whisk together the coconut milk, brown sugar, spice mix and vanilla if using. Stir through the risotto rice and place over a medium heat until bubbling, stirring occasionally.

making rice pudding in a le creuset

Turn down to low and cover, cooking for 20-25 minutes and stirring occasionally until the rice is soft. You may need a little more coconut milk to loosen the pudding slightly – just stir in to desired consistency then remove from the heat.

Spoon the rice pudding into a bowl and top with toasted pecans and a generous drizzle of maple syrup.

autumnal breakfast rice pudding

IMG_5590

It definitely feels like winter in Aberdeen. Sure the streets are covered in soggy amber leaves, late afternoons become thick with the incoming darkness and Starbucks runs out of Pumpkin Spice Lattes (this did actually happen to me today). But this morning the air was frostier; that way where the cold hits your nose first then spreads across your face and you touch your nose and think ‘Oh! I’m quite cold!’ New jumpers are purchased in a deep plum colour (I am never far away from food even when clothes shopping) and I am considering a pair of fleece-lined tights for extra warmth. Nowhere does autumn quite like Aberdeen.

I’m also prone to sticking my full face in a steaming mug of black coffee, willing the swirls of heat to warm my face after a brisk journey to work. I find that the perfect accompaniment to this late morning ritual is a couple of pieces of this warming shortbread. Its a fairly classic recipe in our household and is often relied upon for marathon baking sessions, Christmas or really any occasion that calls for truly melt-in-the-mouth shortbread, a term that is so heavily relied upon in food writing it sometimes loses its meaning. In this case, I feel it is entirely justified.

To warm up this old favourite, I added some quintessential A/W flavours to the wet and dry mixes. First fragrant orange zest hits creamed not crumbled butter and sugar (it always confuses me at first) and is evenly distributed between the sweet and creamy blend with a quick blast of my Kenwood. Ground ginger meets plain and corn flour and is added to the mix in one go, the two blending together first to breadcrumbs then clumps of dough. It is a subtle mix; I didn’t want to overpower the biscuit but instead add hints of the warming flavours that will ultimately be complemented by a few haphazard drizzles of dark chocolate. Winter may be a little in-your-face, but these shortbread stars are a subtle reminder that it is still autumn.

 

You Will Need

200g unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature

100g caster sugar

The zest of ½ an orange

200g plain flour

50g corn flour

½ tsp ground ginger

70g good quality dark chocolate (I used 74%)

Shortbread Ingredients

Preheat an oven to 160oc/140oc fan. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a handheld whisk and large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add the orange zest and whisk again to combine.

Creamed Butter and Sugar

In a separate bowl, briefly whisk together the plain flour, corn flour and ginger together then add all at once to the butter and sugar mix. Slowly turn on the mixer and combine the two mixes; it should go from breadcrumbs to lumps of dough.

Shortbread Dough

Turn out onto a clean floured work surface and bring together with your hands – much like pastry, if you overwork your biscuits they will be tough so try to keep a light hand. Roll out the dough evenly to around the thickness of two pound coins and cut out star shapes using a floured cutter. If you don’t have a star shape, use round cutters or even the bottom of a glass.

Cut Out Star Shapes

Space the biscuits evenly on the prepared baking tray and bake in the middle of the oven for around 30 minutes. Biscuits can burn easily so keep an eye on them after the first 20 minutes – you are looking for a pale golden colour and the biscuit to feel dry. Once baked, remove from the oven to cool for a couple of minutes then carefully transfer with a fish slice to a wire rack to cool completely.

Baked Shortbread

To decorate, arrange the cooled biscuits on sheets of baking parchment and carefully melt the dark chocolate over a pan of barely simmering water. Transfer to a piping bag, snip off the end and run the chocolate across the shapes in a diagonal, trying to cover as many pieces as possible. Vary the height from which you pipe for thinner and thicker lines. Leave to dry then serve with coffee.