Classic Rice Pudding

1/2 cup (100 grams) long-grain rice, preferably jasmine
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 quart (946 ml.) whole milk
1/4 to 1/3 cup (50-67 grams) sugar (to taste)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Rinse the rice under cold running water, then turn it into a medium saucepan, and cover with water. Add the salt, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain.

Rinse the saucepan with cold water, shake out excess (don’t dry) and pour in the milk and sugar. If you’re using a vanilla bean, scrape the pulp into the pan and drop in the pod (if you’re using extract, you’ll add it later).

Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stay close: Milk is notorious for bubbling over.

Lower the heat, stir in the rice and cook at a steady simmer, stirring frequently (especially at the start) for 30-40 minutes, or until the rice is very tender, the pudding feels just a little thick as you stir it and most of the milk has been absorbed (the pudding will have cooked down by about half). It’s hard to give an exact time because it depends on the rice, the size of the pan and the amount of heat beneath it.

Scrape the pudding into a heatproof bowl, and remove the vanilla bean, if you’ve used it. If you’re using extract, stir it in now.

Cover (if you want to avoid a skin, press plastic wrap against the surface of the pudding), and cool to room temperature or refrigerate. Tightly covered, the pudding will keep in the fridge for about four days; serve cold or at room temperature.

Coconut Rice Pudding

1/4+cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, plus more to serve
1 13 1/2-ounce can coconut milk
1/2 cup Arborio rice, briefly rinsed, then drained
4 inch strip orange zest, white pith removed (see note)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup shelled roasted, salted pistachios, roughly chopped

Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, salt and cardamom; set aside. In a large (6- to 8-quart) Dutch oven, stir together the coconut milk and 2½ cups water.

Bring to a boil over medium-high, then stir in the rice, sugar mixture and orange zest. Cover and transfer to the oven. Bake until the rice is tender and the pudding is creamy, about 50 minutes.

Stir in the vanilla, transfer to a bowl and cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm or cool completely, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days (let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving). Sprinkle individual bowls with pistachios and dust with additional cardamom just before serving.

Layered Lemon Icebox Cheesecake

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup prepared lemon curd
Kosher salt
About 20 whole graham crackers
Blueberries, for serving

Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing 4 inches of overhang. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the mascarpone with the heavy cream at medium speed until smooth and just firm; do not overbeat. Fold in the lemon curd and a pinch of salt.

Spread a 1/4-inch-thick layer of the lemon cream on the bottom of the pan. Arrange a single layer of graham crackers on top, breaking them to fit. Repeat the layering with the remaining lemon cream and crackers, finishing with a final layer of cream. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Uncover and invert the cheesecake onto a platter. Remove the plastic wrap. Serve with blueberries.

Make Ahead: The cheesecake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Triple-Cheese Cheesecake with Amaretti Crust

AMARETTI CRUST
3 ounces amaretti cookies (about 20)
2 ounces honey graham crackers (about 4 whole crackers), coarsely crushed
Pinch of kosher salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

CHEESECAKE
1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese or sour cream
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

HONEYED APRICOTS
3/4 cup honey
Three 3-inch rosemary sprigs
6 ounces dried California apricots

Step 1: make the crust
Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a food processor, pulse the amaretti with the graham crackers and salt until finely ground.

Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and stir in the butter.

Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and halfway up the side of an 8-inch springform pan.

Bake for about 10 minutes, until the crust is set. Cool on a rack.

Step 2: make the cheesecake
In a microwave-safe dish, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of cold water; let stand until the gelatin is softened, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form; refrigerate.

Step 3: make the cheesecake
In a bowl, beat the cream cheese, ricotta, sugar and salt with an electric mixer at high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Beat in the mascarpone and lemon juice.

Step 4: make the cheesecake
Microwave the gelatin until melted, 5 seconds; scrape into the cream cheese mixture and beat until incorporated.

Fold in the whipped cream.

Pour the mixture into the cooled crust and smooth the surface. Refrigerate the cake until firm and set, 3 hours.

Step 5: make the honeyed apricots
In a medium saucepan, combine the honey with 3 cups of water and the rosemary.

Bring to a boil and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the honey is dissolved.

Add the apricots and simmer until tender, 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the apricots to a bowl. Boil the rosemary syrup until thickened, 20 to 25 minutes. Strain the syrup over the apricots and let cool.

Step 6: make the honeyed apricots
Unmold the cheesecake and serve with the honeyed apricots.

Cherries Poached in Red Wine with Mascarpone Cream

2 1/4 cups red wine
1 cup sugar
1 1-by-3-inch strip orange zest
2 pounds sweet cherries, halved and pitted
1 cup mascarpone cheese
2 1/2 tablespoons honey

In a medium stainless-steel saucepan, combine the wine, sugar, and orange zest. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Add the cherries and bring back to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the cherries are just tender, about 5 minutes. Pour into a glass or stainless-steel bowl so the cherries don’t overcook.

In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone with the honey. Remove the strip of orange zest from the cherries. Serve the warm cherries and syrup in bowls or stemmed glasses, topped with a large dollop of the mascarpone cream.

Variations

• The warm cherries and poaching liquid are great alone—without the mascarpone cream—or with whipped cream.

• Serve the mascarpone cream with cut up fresh fruit or mixed berries instead of with the poached cherries.

Passion Fruit Ice Cream Pie

One 8-ounce box gingersnaps, lightly crushe
1 dried sweetened pineapple ring (1 1/2 ounces), coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped candied ginger
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups dulce de leche (16-ounce jar)
1/2 cup Looza passion fruit nectar
3 pints vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
1/4 cup salted roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons shredded sweetened coconut

In a food processor, combine the crushed gingersnaps with the pineapple, candied ginger and butter and process until fine crumbs form. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and 1 inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan. Freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.

In a blender, blend the dulce de leche and passion fruit nectar until smooth.

Spread 1 pint of ice cream in the chilled crust. Using a very small ice cream scoop (2 tablespoons), scoop the remaining 2 pints of ice cream into the crust, leaving some nooks and crannies. Drizzle 3/4 cup of the dulce de leche sauce over the ice cream, allowing it to pool in spots. Sprinkle with the pistachios and coconut and freeze until firm, at least 2 1/2 hours.

Remove the ring and cut the pie into wedges. Serve the extra dulce de leche sauce at the table.

Make Ahead: The pie can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Three-Ingredient No-bake Icebox Chocolate Cheesecake

70 Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers (from 2 packages)
Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup chocolate syrup, such as Hershey’s

Put 20 of the chocolate cookies (reserving 50 whole cookies) into a zippered plastic bag and, using a rolling pin, crush them to fine crumbs. Line an 8-inch round cake pan with enough plastic wrap to extend by 4 inches all around.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese at high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the chocolate syrup and 1/4 cup of water and beat the chocolate cream for 2 minutes.

Arrange 9 cookies in an overlapping ring on the bottom of the prepared cake pan and place 1 cookie in the center. Spoon one-fourth of the chocolate cream (about 1 1/4 cups) over the cookies, being careful not to disturb them. Repeat with the remaining cookies and chocolate cream, ending with a layer of 10 cookies on top. Fold the plastic wrap over the top of the cake. Lightly tap the pan once or twice on a work surface. Refrigerate the cake for at least 8 hours and preferably overnight.

Peel back the plastic wrap and invert the cake onto a serving plate. Carefully peel off the plastic wrap. Press the cookie crumbs onto the side of the cake to coat evenly. Cut into wedges and serve.

Make Ahead: The plastic-wrapped cake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Cherry Clafoutis

1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for dusting
5 large eggs
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond flour or almond meal
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
12 ounces sweet cherries, pitted
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 10-inch round gratin dish and dust it with granulated sugar. In a large bowl, whisk the 1 cup of granulated sugar with the eggs and vanilla seeds. Whisk in the all-purpose flour, almond flour and salt until just incorporated. Add the milk and cream and whisk until light and very smooth, about 3 minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared gratin dish and arrange the cherries on top.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the clafoutis is set and golden. Let cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream.

The clafoutis can be wrapped and refrigerated overnight. Serve at room temperature.

Maple Glazed Peaches with Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp fine salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk cold (*or see notes to make your own buttermilk)
8 Tbsp unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly, plus more for brushing biscuits after baking

For glazed peaches:
3 medium peaches cut in half and removed from stone
3-4 Tbsp butter cut into cubes
1/3-1/2 cup maple syrup **or see notes for substitution option
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves or pinch dried thyme, optional
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Pinch salt
For serving:
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Zest from 1/2 lemon
Crème Frâiche or Thick Yogurt

Preheat oven to 475F with rack in centre of oven.
Make the biscuits: (Can be made several hours ahead) In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and melted and cooled butter, stirring until the butter forms small clumps.
Add the buttermilk mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until just combined and the batter pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Using a 1/4 cup scoop or measuring cup, scoop out dollops of batter and drop onto a baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.

Bake in preheated oven until tops are golden and crisp, about 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven and brush tops with a bit of melted butter. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool 5 minutes before serving. (If making ahead, cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature. Reheat in microwave briefly or pop into a 350F oven for 5 minutes or so.
For the peaches: Preheat a large skillet on the stove-top over medium high heat. Add the butter. When the butter starts to foam, add a few thyme leaves, if using and cook for one minute. Add the halved peaches, cut side down, and cook until bottom starts to colour. Once the peaches are coloured a bit, add the maple syrup and cook for about 30 second more. Add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt, then flip the peaches over. Let the syrup simmer until it is reduced by about half. Turn off the heat under the pan.

To serve: You can serve directly from the larger skillet you cooked the peaches in or transfer to smaller skillets or plates, topping with biscuits, thyme sprigs and a dollop of crème frâiche or yogurt, and spooning reduced syrup over-top. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs and a bit of lemon zest. *I find it best to allow the peaches and syrup to cool to a bit before serving, for best flavour and to keep the creme fraiche or yogurt from melting too much.

Fresh Peach Ricotta Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
3 large eggs at room temperature
2 cup white sugar
1 cup ricotta cheese full-fat recommended
3 large peaches peeled or not, as you like
For topping:
Flaked almonds
Brown sugar
Pinch salt

Garnish:
Icing/Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350F with rack in the centre of the oven. Grease a 9 or 10-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Set aside. *A 9-inch springform is the best option, if you have that size.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Prepare the peaches by peeling, if desired, then cutting 2 of the peaches into cubes and then cut the 3rd peach into slices. Set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs with the white sugar until light in colour and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the ricotta and mix in. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined.

Using a spatula, gently fold in the 2 cubed peaches until combined well with the batter. Spoon the batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Arrange the sliced peaches on the top of the batter. Scatter some flaked almonds on top, then sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar and and pinch of salt.

Bake in preheated oven as follows: for a 9-inch springform pan, bake for 75-80 minutes. For a 10-inch springform, baking time will be shorter, about 60-65 minutes. In all cases, cake should have pulled away from the sides of the pan and the top should be evenly golden. You can test centre with a skewer to be sure it is cooked in the middle.

Allow cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the outside and carefully remove the outside ring from the springform pan. Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan base.

Ultimate Zucchini Bread

2 cups (13 ounces or 370 grams) grated, packed zucchini, not wrung out, grated on the large holes of a box grater
2 large eggs
2/3 cup (160 ml) of a neutral oil (I use safflower), olive oil, or melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup (95 grams) packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (25 grams) raw or turbinado sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 6-cup or 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.

Place grated zucchini in a large bowl and add oil, eggs, sugars, vanilla, and salt. Use a fork to mix until combined.

Sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and baking powder over surface of batter and mix until combined — and then, for extra security that the ingredients are well-dispersed, give it 10 extra stirs.

Add flour and mix until just combined.

Pour into prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the raw or turbinado sugar — don’t skimp.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick or tester inserted into the middle cake but also into the top of the cake, closer to the dome, comes out batter-free.

Let cool completely in the pan. Leave in pan, unwrapped, overnight or 24 hours, until removing (carefully, so not to ruin flaky lid) and serving in slices.

Zucchini bread keeps for 4 to 5 days at room temperature. Wrap only the cut end of the cake in foil, and return it to the baking pan, leaving the top exposed so that it stays crunchy.

Strawberry Summer Cake (Sheet Pan Variation)

9 tablespoons (125 grams) unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) plus 3 tablespoons (40 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup (175 ml) milk, whole is preferred but all varieties have worked
1 1/2 teaspoons (8 ml) vanilla extract
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 cups (295 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) of the freshest, even a touch overripe, strawberries, hulled and halved

Heat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
Lightly coat the sides and corners of a 9×13-inch cake pan with butter or nonstick spray, and fit the bottom with a rectangle of parchment paper. In a large bowl, beat butter, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of the granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, yolk, and vanilla and beat until combined. Add milk and mix until smooth. Sprinkle baking powder evenly over batter and beat into batter for 20 seconds longer than will seem necessary — this ensures it’s perfectly distributed. Scrape down the bowl. Add flour and beat or stir until just combined.

Spread batter in prepared pan. Arrange strawberries cut side down, as snugly as you can get them to fit. If you have extra, nudge them in anyway. Leave no strawberries behind. Sprinkle with remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar — it will seem like a lot but helps the strawberries get jammy and gives the cake a great texture.

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out free of wet batter (gooey strawberries are a given and doesn’t mean it’s underbaked) — about 45 to 48 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack. Cut into squares and serve as is, or with lightly sweetened whipped cream, if you’re Deb.

Do ahead: Cake even better half- to a full day later, when the strawberries marry with better with the cake. I like to leave the cake uncovered at room temperature so it doesn’t get sticky on top.

Strawberry Summer Cake

6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pie plate
1 1/2 cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup (200 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup (118 ml) milk
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 pound (450 grams) strawberries, hulled and halved

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 10-inch pie pan or 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. (This cake does not work in a standard 9-inch pie pan; it will overflow.)

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl.

In a larger bowl, beat butter and 1 cup sugar until pale and fluffy with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg, milk and vanilla until just combined. Add dry mixture gradually, mixing until just smooth.

Pour into prepared pie plate. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer (though I had to overlap a few to get them all in). Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.

Bake cake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 325°F and bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out free of wet batter, about 50 minutes to 60 minutes. (Gooey strawberries on the tester are a given.) Let cool in pan on a rack. Cut into wedges. Serve with lightly whipped cream.

Do ahead: Cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days, loosely covered, but good luck with that.

Notes:
The batter can be dropped to 2 tablespoons less sugar (i.e. 7/8 cup sugar instead of a whole one). But the sugar on top. It contributes to the berries turning into jam.

Peach Streusel Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons butter melted
2 tablespoons oil preferably pecan or grapeseed
2 large eggs beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups diced peaches

For the streusel:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter melted
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 375°F and lightly grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin or line them with muffin cups.

To make the muffin batter, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
In a separate bowl, stir together the melted butter, oil, eggs, vanilla, and sour cream until creamy, then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring gently until well combined and a thick batter is formed. Fold in the peaches.

To make the streusel, stir together the granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg until well combined. Stir in the butter and pecans until everything well combined.

Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full with the batter, then evenly top with streusel. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned on top and when a knife inserted into the muffin comes out clean. Serve warm.

Skillet Brownies

6 oz. good-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
1-1/4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 large eggs
1 cup superfine sugar
1/3 cup ground hazelnuts or almonds
1/4 cup good-quality cocoa powder
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350F. Place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven.

Microwave the chocolate and butter together in a large bowl until melted.

Using an handheld electric mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar to combine. Add the melted chocolate and mix gently to combine.

Grind the nuts, then fold in with the cocoa powder and salt.

Transfer to a 9-inch cast-iron skillet and bake for 25 minutes.

Grilled Pineapple with Coconut Ice Cream and Makrut Lime-Leaf Maple Syrup

1 fresh pineapple
Premium coconut ice cream
Runamok Makrut Lime-Leaf Infused Maple Syrup

Peel the pineapple and slice into wedges, being sure to remove the woody core. Put the wedges on a medium-hot grill and cook until browned and slightly caramelized. Remove from the grill with tongs and cut into bite-sized pieces.

Combine all three ingredients in a bowl being sure to leave the bottle of maple syrup nearby – just in case you need more.

Chia Pudding with Maple

1 cup whole milk (or coconut milk)
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 – 3 Tbsp Runamok Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup (Whiskey, Bourbon, Rum or Apple Brandy)
1/2-tsp vanilla extract
Sliced fruit, nuts, toasted coconut or other topping (optional)

Combine the first four ingredients and stir. Put in a small container, cover and place in the fridge. Leave for eight hours or overnight, stirring occasionally. Serve with fresh fruit, nuts, toasted coconut or extra maple syrup.

Kesar Ras Malai

for the thickened milk:
800 mls whole milk
200 gms of condensed milk
100 gms caster sugar
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
A good pinch of saffron

For the milk dumplings/paneer:
2 pints whole milk
juice of 2 lemons

for the syrup:
200 gms caster sugar
400 mls water
Pinch of saffron
Chopped pistachio and silver varkh to garnish

Get all the milk sauce ingredients together in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Bring to a gentle boil for 1 hour 30mins or so until it has reduced by half and is a bit thick. Turn the heat off and cool. Refrigerate until the milk dumplings are ready.

For the dumplings, bring the whole milk to a gentle boil in a heavy bottom non stick sauce pan. Now add the lemon juice and leave it to boil for 30seconds or so until you start to see it curdling. Take it off the heat and strain it through a muslin. Rinse the curdled mix under cold water; this helps it to come together and also takes away any sour taste. Keep the muslin on a sieve and leave to drain through for an hour to get rid of any excess water.

In the meanwhile, bring all the ingredients for the syrup together and bring to a boil. Knead the dumpling mix well to bring it together. Divide into 6 equal portions and flatten. Tip them into the syrup and cook for 7-10 minutes until they are firm.

Remove them from the syrup and cool slightly. Add them to the chilled milk sauce to soak in the thickened milk flavours. Chill the Ras malai for 4-5 hours. To serve put the dumplings in a bowl with the sauce. Topped with chopped pistachios and silver foil.

Pasayam (South Indian Kheer)

50 gms Basmati rice
110 mls full fat milk
250 mls coconut milk
40 gms jaggery or unrefined brown sugar
5 cardamom pods; seeds only pounded to a fine powder

to serve:
2 tbsp butter
A tbsp of cashew nuts, pistachios & raisins
Pinch of saffron

In a wide heavy bottom sauce pan add the rice, full fat milk, coconut milk over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir frequently. Simmer and add the jaggery & cardamom powder. Cook for an hour stirring often scraping the bottom & sides of the pan making sure it doesn’t stick. Once the rice is cooked and the pudding is a creamy consistency turn the heat off and cover with a lid. Leave to cool slightly.

In a frying pan heat the butter and add cashew nuts and brown slightly, add the pistachios and raisins. Fry for a few seconds. Pour the fried nuts along with the butter over the Payasam & serve warm.

Semiya Pasayam (Vermicelli Kheer)

4 cups milk divided (3 cups + 1 cup)
1 cup vermicelli (semiya)
1 cup water
6 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp condensed milk
1 Tbsp ghee (clarified butter), divided
10 cashews broken
10 almonds sliced
10 golden raisins
10 pistachios sliced

Boil milk in a saucepan and keep it aside.

Heat 1/2 tablespoon ghee in a pan. Once it is hot, fry the cashews, almonds, pistachios & raisins separately, until they all turn golden brown. Remove them from the pan and keep it aside.

In the same pan add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon ghee. Fry the vermicelli until it starts changing its color and becomes slightly golden. (This step can be skipped if using roasted vermicelli).

Then add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of boiled milk to the pan. Frequently stir the mixture else the milk will burn at the bottom.

Keep adding milk progressively as and when the mixture thickens. Add about 1-1/2 cup milk, and cook the vermicelli until it becomes soft.

Once the vermicelli gets cooked, add the condensed milk and sugar. Add the remaining 1/2 cup milk and keep it on the stove for few more minutes until the sugar dissolves.

Turn off the stove and add cashews, almonds, raisins, and pistachios. This thickens on cooling. Keep an extra cup of boiled milk at hand. So if you are serving later & it thickens, you can add some more milk (according to your consistency preference) and serve.

Recipe Notes
You can get readymade roasted vermicelli in Indian grocery stores. Use them for convenience.

Condensed milk is completely optional. It helps in thickening the base and therefore a rich taste.

You can adjust the sugar amount based on your sweet preference. When using condensed milk, be extra careful as it has some sugar.

This can be served chilled or at room temperature or even warm.
The amount of milk depends on one’s preferred consistency. Payasam can be drunk from a glass or spooned. The amount mentioned above yields a thick creamy dessert. You can thin it more by adding extra boiled milk. The consistency is of medium thickness and is thinner than rice pudding