Browsing through the food blog world, I have come across decadent dessert after impressive decadent dessert. All of these desserts are unique in their own way but similar in that they represent the flavors and colors of Autumn. Although we already have been inundated with snow, my heart still adores Autumn. And to honor my favorite season I thought I would attempt a dessert that has always warmed my heart during the chilly weather.
My grandmother made the most incredible rice pudding. It was full of fluffy rice, swimming in sweetened condensed milk bearing the simple yet comforting taste of her family favorite pudding. We ate it warm the day she made it. Not caring if we burned our tongues while savoring the cinnamon flavors and inhaling the aroma. There was only one problem with obtaining the magnificent recipe. My grandmother was not too happy with me last week, (remember, I'm only 22, I'm still learning =]) Rather than receiving a lecture before receiving the recipe, I thought I would try making a rice pudding cheesecake, to also honor a lost recipe that Tim and I created in culinary school (that pumpkin cheesecake story might be left for another day). I stumbled upon an awesome food blog Sweet Life Bake and fell in love with one of the most impressive cheesecake recipes I've ever seen. Although the proportions are different, I left out the crust, added macadamia nuts and added a maple caramel sauce.
For presentation purposes, I left out the crust, but I recommend making one for this recipe, graham cracker crust preferably. Instead I sprinkled chopped macadamia nuts at the bottom of the ramekin as well as on the cheesecake before placing it in the oven for an added crunch. Tim pointed out that I should have toasted the nuts before adding them, he was right, it would've released the oils and not only added extra color and taste but a hint of the lovely aroma as well.
The maple caramel sauce went nicely with the cheesecake (you can even pour it over the finished cheesecake and create a caramel glaze as well as add more chopped, toasted nuts). I believe Maple is a great addition to an Autumn themed dessert. Tim and I had some fun making a birds nest from the maple caramel sauce when it hardened including some abstract designs from twisting the soft caramel. Tim even made me a caramel heart =]
Rice Pudding Cheesecake w/ Maple Caramel Sauce
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 2 cups of buttermilk
- 2 cups of milk
- 1/2 cup of rice
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- 1/4 cup of water
- 1 package of unflavored gelatin
- 1-8oz package of cream cheese
- Toasted chopped macadamia nuts
- Place buttermilk, milk, rice, vanilla extract and cinnamon into a large saucepan and heat to a simmer, then add salt and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes until rice is soft.
- While rice is cooking, place water in a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin evenly over water and whisk until fluffy, set aside.
- Add sugar to the rice mixture and remove from heat. Mix in cream cheese and whisk until sugar and cheese have dissolved and the texture is smooth.
- Pass half the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, and reserve rice until all the mixture is strained. Then take 1 cup of the seperated rice and add to the reserved liquid, discarding the remaining rice.
- Mix about 1 cup of the rice mixture into the gelatin mixture and whisk until well combined. Then pour gelatin mix into the rice mixture, mix well.
- Pour mixture into 4-5 ramekins that have chopped macadamia nuts (or ready made graham cracker crust), top with more chopped nuts and place into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (rub ramekin with coconut oil before adding nuts and mixture for easier removal).
For the caramel sauce
- 1/2 stick of unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup of light brown sugar (packed)
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup of maple syrup
For directions click here