Because dessert's a whole lot sexier when it's forbidden
I think we can all agree that, when it comes to dessert, molten chocolate cake is sexy. Served up hot with vanilla ice cream, this deep, dark and rich dessert oozes with chocolatey goodness, and succumbs to the pressure of a fork with a melty tenderness that's second to none. Whether you're ordering or serving it up, this ooey-gooey chocolate cake screams 'I like it dark, silky and decadent, and I'm not afraid to say so.'
You know what's not sexy? Rice pudding.
When the dessert menu is presented at the end of a first date, it's really hard to pull off a sinful, come-hither wink as you utter the words 'ooh, let's share the rice pudding.' Luscious chocolate cake? Sure. Maybe even the creamy, dreamy crème brûlée. But when you're the girl who really, really wants a bowl of glorified gruel to round out an otherwise sophisticated meal, you better be wearing a great dress.
Needless to say, I'm that girl.
When it comes to dessert, I like it homey, rustic and simple. I like my crusts uneven and my baked fruits seeping, and I like to sense that whatever I ordered was made by the muscle memory of hands that create by feel and not measurement. Baked puddings, crusty crumbles and bowls of bubbling stone-fruit topped with cascading streams of crème Anglaise will always find my spoon long before a perfectly frosted cake even crosses my mind.
That being said, I refuse to identify my dessert preferences with a life lived in comfy sweats and perpetual coziness - I have uncomfortably high heels and great dresses to wear, and sinful winks to give, even if I'm not a champion of the oh-so-predictable molten chocolate cake.
In an effort to sex-up rice pudding (I know, I know, it's a stretch - just go with it), I substituted the usual white rice and milk for black rice and coconut milk. I used Chinese Forbidden rice for this (mainly because it said 'forbidden' on the packet, and felt it was thematically appropriate), but you can certainly use Thai black rice, which has a stickier nature when cooked.
In a medium pot, combine the rice, water, coconut milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and a pinch of salt and bring it to a simmer over low-medium heat. Simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring frequently and adding more water if you feel like the rice is absorbing it too quickly.
It is finished when the consistency is creamy, soft and pudding-like and the rice is tender but not totally falling apart.
Serve the rice pudding hot with your desired toppings and enjoy it brazenly.
And let's be honest, if you're confident enough to order rice pudding over its more provocative counterpart, you don't even need a dress - you are the dress.