I have always had a disposition towards eating organic, healthy foods and an intense desire to make them taste extraordinary, even as a young teenager. I recall dragging my mother to health food stores for ingredients, even as she questioned if I had been perhaps switched at birth. I dreamed of creating meals that were a pleasure to eat and also nourishing to the body as well. It seems that feeding people was what God had purposed me for, even though this was not something we typically did as a family.
My mother used to bring home a package of plastic tubs of tapioca pudding, all bound together tightly in a cardboard holder. Just a pull of the aluminum peel-off lid led to a sweet pudding dotted with pearls of texture. The sweetness and creamy vanilla flavor had me adoring it immediately.
Later on, I discovered rice pudding in a cookbook from the local library. I gave it a test run and discovered that this had the same milky creaminess and bitefuls of texture that I recalled in my childhood puddings; yet was more refined and tasted even better. I happily created a version more suited to my preferences with maple syrup, golden raisins and slivered almonds. Eating it brings back memories of the tapioca pudding of my childhood. It also delights me in tasting how pure and healthful ingredients create the amazing foods we are blessed to be able to eat and share.
Autumn Spiced Rice Pudding with Golden Raisins and Slivered Almonds (Serves 8)
¾ cup golden raisins
3 tablespoons water
2 cups water
1 cup long grain white rice
¼ teaspoon sea salt
3 ¾ cups milk
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
2/3 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
¼ cup slivered almonds
Instructions to Prepare:
Add raisins to a small heatproof bowl. Bring the three tablespoons of water to a boil. Add to raisins, cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
Bring the two cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Stir in the rice and salt. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until rice is tender, approximately 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add the milk, cream and maple syrup. On medium heat, bring mixture to a steady simmer for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to low for five minutes. Add in soaked raisins, cinnamon and slivered almonds. Cook on low for 10 minutes or until desired thickness.
Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and nutmeg. Pour rice pudding into eight individual ramekins or a large serving dish. Cover directly with saran wrap on surface of the pudding to prevent a “skin” from forming. Cool at least eight hours. Serve garnished with sliced almonds and additional golden raisins, as desired.
Hillary Coppock began a culinary experiment as an adult. She would seek out an ingredient, vegetable or grain she had never eaten before and try a myriad of cooking options to determine how to add to her culinary repertoire. She soon began feeding family and friends and recording the recipes as they developed. After a holiday meal, a guest quipped, “You missed your purpose.” That moment helped Hillary know she wanted to cook professionally.
Upon moving to Tyler, she opened Delightful Food Company and became a vendor at the local farmers’ market, where she incorporates her love of herbs, teas, cheeses and indigenous ingredients into unique and organic pastries. Hillary says, “I love people by feeding them and it is a great joy to connect over food with those in our community.”
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