Coconut Rice Pudding Brulee


Coconut Rice Pudding Brulee

Coconut rice pudding brulee combines two tasty things into one fabulous sweet treat. My opinion of rice pudding has always been meh, but I admit I’m a fan of creme brulee. The addition of caramelized brown sugar topping transforms this into something far above the original, plain pudding.

An improved traditional pudding and the brulee combination takes this to a level worthy of a pure dessert course. It’s another winning combination by Ed Lee from his cookbook, Smoke & Pickles. Easily the best rice pudding I have ever tasted and will taste again.

What I Learned

Not long ago I suffered a failed star anise and bourbon infusion, so I used it with great trepidation. I learned it could impart a hint of anise without overpowering the entire dish. Unsweetened coconut milk is another first time ingredient that contributed another layer of flavor to complement the milk, cream and buttermilk. If you’re counting, that’s four types of milk in a single recipe and yes, it created deeper, nuanced flavor.

Finally, it was my first experience torching brown, instead of white granulated sugar. I can’t speak for Ed, but there was no “spooning” the brown sugar, because it had absorbed too much moisture.

Complications, Missteps and Mistakes

This is an easy recipe and the closest thing to a problem was dispersal of the brown sugar. The moisture content defied spooning and I had to resort to a grinding sprinkle with my fingers, so I didn’t get a smooth, even layer.

What I Did When Ed Wasn’t Looking

I subbed vanilla extract for the vanilla bean and probably was lucky to do so, because if this tasted any better I would be in a diabetic coma. The second deviation was more brown sugar than called for because of the clumping.

Finally, I was forced to use sweet basil, because of bad weather that kept me away from my Asian market. Thai basil does have a unique aroma and taste that I enjoy, especially in my panang curry.

And The Verdict Is…

I give myself four and a half stars, because I deviated from his ingredient list ever so slightly. However, the taste of my re-creation and the recipe itself is a solid five stars.

  • Author: TJ


  • 1/2 cup long grain white jasmin rice
  • 21/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 21/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract -or- 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 2 TBL brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 18 fresh raspberries
  • 12 fresh sweet basil leaves


  1. Combine the rice (do not rinse), milk, cream, coconut milk, vanilla extract, sugar and star anise pod in a heavy bottomed pot
  2. Bring it to a low simmer for 55-70 minutes until the rice is soft. Start tasting after 55 minutes.
  3. Stir occasionally while simmering and reducing, then transfer it to a bowl and let it cool to room temperature – about an hour. It will thicken as it cools
  4. Discard the star anise pod and the vanilla bean pod (if using)
  5. Add the buttermilk and fold it in gently and thoroughly with a spatula
  6. Divide the pudding evenly between (6) 4 oz ramekins and chill in the refrigerator 2 hours minimum or up to 12 hours
  7. Immediately before serving spread the brown sugar over each ramekin
  8. Use a kitchen blowtorch to melt the sugar until it’s dark liquid amber and let it cool until it hardens – about 30 seconds to 1 minute
  9. Garnish each portion with 3 raspberries and a couple of basil leaves
  10. Serve right away before the sugar begins to soften

first step cooked coconut rice pudding brulee

coconut rice pudding brulee in ramekins coconut rice pudding brulee closeup

Finished coconut rice pudding brulee


Basic recipe from Chef Edward Lee of Louisville, Kentucky and his best selling cookbook Smoke & Pickles – Recipes From a New Southern Kitchen, 2013.