Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Coconut and Elderflower Rice Pudding for M. Satie

The other day I was listening to a fine rendition of Erik Satie’s ‘Je te veux’ on the radio and, for some reason, I remembered that he claimed to eat only white food. This choice may have stemmed from an artistic desire for purity, although, let’s face it, Satie was as mad as a box of frogs a trifle eccentric.

I started to imagine what I’d serve up if Satie came round for dinner. I wouldn't put it past him to turn up out of the blue with a bouquet of umbrellas in hand expecting to be fed. I'm not sure that being dead for nearly 90 years would stop him. The starter could be a white soup, I suppose, and maybe chicken in a white sauce for the main course. But this is definitely the dessert.

My version of coconut rice pudding isn't dairy-free, because I like the silkiness that the dairy elements bring to the dish. The fromage frais not only gives some extra creaminess, but also adds a little sharpness, which I think lifts the flavour of the pudding.

There are other elderflower liqueurs around, but I used St-Germain. You could use some elderflower cordial instead if you want to avoid booze. I know that St-Germain is not truly white – it’s more of a light straw colour – but I think M. Satie may be willing to make an exception to his white rule for alcohol. He was all too fond of a particular green form of alcohol, after all. (I've no connection with the St-Germain company, by the way, and I've never received so much as a drop of liqueur for being nice about them.)
Coconut and Elderflower Rice Pudding
I dished up five servings from the amounts given, but I've no idea how much M. Satie will eat if he ever arrives. After all he insisted that dinner should last for no more than four minutes.

120 g short-grain, pudding rice
400 ml coconut milk (you can use reduced fat coconut milk at the expense of a little richness)
80 g caster sugar
400 ml milk (full-fat ideally, although it’s not essential)
8 tbsp fromage frais (ideally a richer version rather than a fat-free option)
2 tbsp elderflower liqueur such as St-Germain
A sprinkling of white chocolate curls for decoration

Mix the rice, coconut milk, sugar and milk in a saucepan. Bring slowly to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer very gently, stirring regularly, until the mixture has thickened and the rice is tender. If you’re being very gentle, this could be 35 – 40 minutes. Remember to keep stirring towards the end of this time to prevent the mixture from sticking to the pan.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Stir in the liqueur and the fromage frais. Chill until you’re ready to serve.

To serve, place into serving glasses or dishes (white dishes, of course) and decorate with a few white chocolate curls. I make the curls by scraping a vegetable peeler very lightly across a cold bar of white chocolate.