Chai Rice Pudding with Roasted Cherries and Spiced Almonds

Well, I'm back from an amazing week of camp. 5 days of running, games, stories, and sasquatch hunting, and easily the best week of my summer. At least once a day I found myself with a huge smile on my face for no real reason, I was just so happy. It was almost unbelievable that I got to drop everything and spend a week just playing. Dodgeball, frisbee, scavenger hunts, swimming, and all with the nicest people in the world. (everyone knows runners are the nicest) 

I miss my new friends already, but my body was ready for a break from the two-a-day runs and non-stop activity. (and probably all the ice cream too, oops!) 

Funny story, we ended up running about 13 miles the first day, not counting the dodgeball tournament and hiking. I definitely didn't fuel enough throughout the day, but I didn't realize until about 9:00 when I was in a hunger daze and found myself dipping a protein bar into almond butter. "omg what am I doing" 

I was starving. Good times...

I had a beautiful run this morning before hitting the farmers market. It was a beautiful day and we bought tons of beautiful vegetables. For breakfast, Mom and I bought a pint of raspberries and yogurt from the greek stand. Ah-may-zing. Words cannot describe. We also found some lovely cherries....

Which inspired today's recipe! I set out to create a polenta dish, but was caught up in rice pudding cravings, so this happened instead. I'm not complaining. 

The spice combinations are perfect, and make for a comforting yet light pudding. It would be wonderful heated up for breakfast, but tastes great chilled as well. It is summer after all! 


Chai Rice Pudding with Roasted Cherries and Spiced Almonds

inspired by: Coconut Rice Pudding with Roasted Cherries

You will need:

  • 1 cup pitted cherries; cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 chai tea bag
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 14 oz full fat coconut milk (canned)
  • 1 cup medium grain white rice
  • 1/2 cup regular coconut milk (from a carton) or milk of choice
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/8 cup honey (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1 pinch each of cinnamon, salt, and cardamom powder
  • honey

To make:

Set a medium sized pot over high heat, add the water, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the tea bag and the cinnamon stick. Allow to steep for 3-5 minutes, then remove the tea bag. Return to medium-high heat and add the rice and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring often to avoid scorching.

Meanwhile make the roasted cherries, preheat the oven to 400° and place the cherries in an 8 inch round or square baking dish. Drizzle with the honey and sprinkle with salt, then roast until they're soft and bubbly; about 20 minutes. 

To make the almonds, reduce the oven temperature to 350°. Toss the almonds with the spices and a drizzle of honey, then toast on a parchment lined baking sheet until golden and crispy. Allow to cool, then chop roughly.

When the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, add the extra 1/2 cup milk and continue to cook until the pudding is creamy and the rice is soft. Turn off the heat and stir in the almond extract and honey. 

To assemble, pour the rice pudding on top of the roasted cherries and sprinkle the coconut sugar evenly on top. Place the pudding under the broiler for a few minutes to caramelize the sugar, then sprinkle the almonds on top.