I can’t believe it! One whole year of blogging has just flown by. Yes, last August 8th, I tentatively made my very first post for Asian Inspired Hummus. It took me days to plan it, photograph it and write it up. I agonized over every detail, and the excitement I felt when I first clicked “Publish” was indescribable. My goal was to publish one recipe per week for the whole year and then re-assess where I would go from there. Well, I’m proud to say that I have met that goal, and then some. But as it turns out, I have learned that blogging is much more than just posting one recipe per week. I have entered a whole new community of talented, worldly, kind, and supportive bloggers; people who are passionate about their subject matter, and willing to share their experiences in the blogosphere. I have overcome my fear of writing publicly, I have honed my photography and food styling skills and I have discovered whole new areas of the food world that I can’t wait to explore. An excitement about cooking new things has crept into me: I find myself evolving as a cook. In the end, I have learned that no matter what the nay-sayers think, blogging allows us to reach deep inside and pull out the creativity that resides within us. It allows us to speak, contribute, discuss and to create the kind of world we want to inhabit. I have found it to be a deeply satisfying extension of myself, and something to celebrate! So my friends, here’s to another year! Thanks so much for your kindness, your support and for your willingness to share your passions. I celebrate this with you because one of the most important things I have learned about blogging, is that we do not do this in isolation – we do it with our community. This has been a great year and I really look forward to the next one!
So, to honour this occasion, I have made a cake! No, not really. Cake making skills are something I will have to work on, but I have made my kind of dessert. I have been eyeing this recipe from Taste Magazine, for months and thought it would be perfect for today. Creamy coconut rice pudding with dried apricots, enveloped in a crunchy, buttery phyllo pastry, accented with a tangy, fresh raspberry sauce: now this is something to celebrate with! I will also be bringing it to Fiesta Friday, my favourite event in the blogosphere! Thanks again to our host Angie @ The Novice Gardener, for giving us this space to socialize in and to our co-hosts for tending to this excitable crowd that continues to grow each week.
Coconut Rice Pudding Spring Rolls with Raspberry Sauce
3 cups fresh raspberries
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup arborio rice
2 – 14 ounce cans coconut milk
1/3 cup white sugar
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 inches fresh lemongrass
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup dried apricots, diced (Mango would be delicious too!)
1 cup fresh grated coconut or unsweetened shredded coconut
10 phyllo pastry sheets
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
fresh raspberries, for garnish
In a small pot, stir together raspberries, sugar and lemon juice over medium heat. Cook until raspberries start to release their juices and break down, about 5 minutes. Do a taste test. If too tart, add more sugar and cook until dissolved.
Place sauce in blender and puree until smooth. Strain sauce through a fine mesh sieve. Discard solids and refrigerate until ready to use. Can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
In a pot, stir together rice, coconut milk, sugar, vanilla bean, lemongrass, ginger and salt over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cover pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender and pudding has thickened slightly, about 30 – 35 minutes.
Transfer rice pudding to a bowl. Discard vanilla bean and lemongrass, and stir in apricots. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°.
Place ¾ cup grated coconut on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake, stirring once, until golden, 5 – 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Gently unroll phyllo sheets and place on kitchen towel or sheet or waxed paper. Cover with a damp towel to prevent drying out as you work.
Lay one sheet of phyllo, long side facing you, on a dry, flat surface. Brush evenly with a light coat of melted butter and fold in half lenghthwise. Brush lightly again with melted butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the toasted coconut. Spoon 3 tablespoons of the rice pudding along the middle of the side closest to you. Gently start to roll up the dough around pudding. Fold in sides over filling and continue to roll up dough to encase filling.
Transfer spring rolls, seam side down to a parchment-lined baking sheet and top with more butter. Sprinkle with the remaining non-toasted coconut and bake until golden brown and rice pudding is warmed through, 20 -25 minutes. Serve with raspberry sauce and garnish with raspberries.