Lilacs are one of my favorite spring blooms. I love taking evening walks and catching whiffs of the fresh blooms on the breeze. Nothing says, "Winter is over" like lilacs.
This year the lilacs were earlier than usual, as was everything. Even stranger to me was the Buckeye butterflies that were out feasting on the lilac's nectar. It keeps me wondering what this summer will be like, and if I should just throw in the towel and plant my summer vegetable garden.
Last Year I found out that lilac blossoms are edible. As a result I made some lilac martinis for us adults and some lilac lemonade for the kiddos out of the same base of a lilac simple syrup. This year as soon as the lilacs opened up Lily was harping on me for some more of that lemonade. I was smart however, because this time I made some extra and froze it so I can pull it out some dreary fall/winter day and let a little splash of spring back into our house. I'll let that be a surprise for her.
As I was making the lilac simple syrup I was wondering where else I could put the flavor of lilacs that we could enjoy. Coincidentally at the same time I was also craving rice pudding. I have no idea why, because truly, I don't think I have ever "craved" rice pudding, but there I was stirring lilac blossoms in sugar water and craving rice pudding. You can see where this is going, can't you? And why shouldn't it? Lilacs have a very soft floral flavor. I could see them lending their subtle flavor quite nicely with some warm and creamy rice pudding.
This rice pudding is not difficult to make. Although the lilac flavor is there, it acts like more of a floral background note. I decided to pair the flavor of the lilac blossoms with coconut because I thought they would go well together. The result was a soft and comforting rice pudding that I enjoyed on a slightly chilly spring afternoon out on my back porch under the shade of one of my lilac trees.
Lilac-Coconut Rice Pudding
- 1/2 cup of white rice
- 1 cup of water
- 3 cups of lilac blossoms; divided
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- 1 cup of whole milk
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
- In a pot combine the rice, water, and 1 cup of lilac blossoms that have been rinsed and tied in a piece of cheesecloth. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes until the rice is cooked. Turn off the heat and let the rice sit covered for 10 minutes. Remove the lilac blossom cheesecloth bundle, and fluff the rice with a fork.
- Add in the other 2 cups of lilac blossoms that have been divided into 1 cup portions and tied into 2 pieces of cheesecloth (so you will have 2 little bundles), coconut milk, whole milk, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and pinch of salt. Bring the ingredients to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and, stirring occasionally, simmer for 20-30 minutes until the rice pudding is the thickness you like it.
- Remove the lilac cheesecloth bundles and ladle into bowls. Serve warm.