I don’t like fussy desserts. I mean I like to eat them out when other people make and fuss over them, but I don’t enjoy the sweating and cursing that ensues when I take on a major dessert at home. Some of my desserts for the family are so simple they don’t qualify as a recipe. Have you ever had strawberries over sour cream with brown sugar on top? You must. Maybe three times I year I will make a tart, bake a 3 layer cake or some such project, but for everyday desserts and even most entertaining simple desserts soothe my soul just fine (and leave me sane).
Which is why I adore this dessert. It’s comforting, easy to make, and you don’t feel hellish after eating it. It’s creamy goodness in a bowl. My kids devour it, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to serve leftovers for breakfast (how can waffles and pancakes be legit and rice pudding not?).
With strawberries just making their debut this is nice change from eating them straight up. The “wilted” part is inspired by a recipe from the fantastic new Middlewest publication where David Tamarkin pairs roasted strawberries with basil infused whipped cream in a terrific looking icebox cake. There’s a neat video on their website that has me convinced this recipe could fall in my no-fuss category quite nicely while masquerading as a super impressive/complicated dessert. I love how the light roasting intensifies the strawberry flavor and wilts them just enough to add an interesting texture to the rice pudding. We’d all best get our strawberry desserts going, as the season is fleeting.
Vanilla Rice Pudding with Wilted Strawberries
½ cup cream
2.5 cups whole milk
½ cup medium grain rice
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar or plain sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, OR 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1 pound box of strawberries for the wilted strawberries, recipe follows
Combine cream, milk, rice, sugar, and vanilla bean paste or seeds in a heavy, medium saucepan and bring up to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the rice is fully tender. Add more milk (or cream if you like it extra rich) to reach a consistency you like. Taste and add more sugar to taste, but keep in mind the strawberries will add a lovely sweetness. Gently mix in the wilted strawberries, saving a few for garnish if you like.
For the wilted strawberries
Pre-heat the oven to 350. Halve the strawberries and place cut side down in a single even layer on parchment paper or a re-usable Siplat mat. Bake in the oven 20-25 minutes or until you see some juices caramelizing and the strawberries look slightly wilted.
*To heat up leftovers for breakfast or any time of day you may wish to add a bit more milk to get that creamy texture back.