Mom made this baked sticky rice pudding during her last visit on the night both of us couldn’t sleep and decided that a sweet, warm, gooey, carbo-rich dessert and an old movie was just what we needed. In the time it took me to find an old DVD copy of Roman Holiday and get the movie ready for us, she’d turned the cold leftover sticky rice in the fridge and a few pantry items into this comforting dessert — completely impromptu. Mom did things like that with the kind of ease that never failed to amaze me.
The dessert, in my opinion, is best served warm or slightly warmer than room temperature. Some coconut cream on the side and some heavy ogling of Gregory Peck with it are completely optional, though highly recommended.
This baked rice pudding has all the flavors of traditional Thai dessert, Khao Niao Sang Khaya (ข้าวเหนียวสังขยา) which comprises sweet coconut sticky rice (the kind that is served with Thai coconut sticky rice and mango) and a topping of steamed coconut-palm sugar egg custard. To make Khao Niao Sang Khaya, you need to prepare the sweet sticky rice and the custard separately which is too time-consuming. At that point, Gregory Peck was waiting and there was no time to waste. Mom, therefore, more or less dumped all the ingredients into a casserole which tastes almost identical to that which it mimics.
Brilliant, Mom. Years of cooking along tons of English cookbooks purchased from American missionaries’ garage sales paid off very nicely.
And that’s one of the many, many reasons this blog was created in my mother’s honor and memory.
My Mom’s Baked Sticky Rice Pudding with Coconut Cream and Palm Sugar
(Make one 8×8″ pan)
450 g cooked Thai glutinous rice1
190 g finely-chopped palm sugar
60 g brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or coconut extract)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
One 13.5-ounce can good coconut milk
Toasted dried coconut shavings for garnish, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 8×8″ baking dish or any baking dish with one quart capacity.
- Spread the rice onto the bottom of the prepared pan; you don’t need to smooth out the top or pack it down at all.
- In a pot over medium heat, heat the coconut milk and sugars just until the sugars dissolves; there’s no need to bring the mixture to a boil.
- Whisk the beaten eggs, vanilla, and salt into the coconut mixture.
- Pour the custard mixture over the rice through a fine-mesh sieve.
- Cover the baking dish with a piece of aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.
- The custard will appear somewhat undercooked, especially in the middle; that is perfectly fine. Let the rice pudding cool, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes before serving.
- 1 You can also use cooked jasmine rice. Heck, use any type of rice you want as long as it’s polished (whole grain doesn’t work very well) and cooked.