Spiced Plum Rice Pudding

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Okay, so I know I harp endlessly on eating seasonally, and well, plums aren’t exactly in season. In fact, it’ll be summer before we start to see any of those beauties around these parts. But, all I’ve been able to think about lately is this rice pudding with spiced plums, so when I saw some in the produce section at the grocery store, it could not be helped. Sometimes the heart what it wants, or so says the great Selena Gomez.

All jokes aside, this rice pudding has haunted me for years. First, out of curiosity, since I’d never been a fan of anything with the word pudding included. And then I made a holiday variation of the recipe for an event in December, subbing in cranberries instead of plums. I got to taste the dish, but wasn’t able to really sit down and bury my face in a bowl of the stuff like I would have liked. So, since it seems this faux spring is here to stay, I decided this must be the week for me to indulge in one final, albeit tardy, fall-winter dessert.

Being that I’m a bit dairy sensitive, I decided to make this recipe with almond milk instead of the recommended milk. This was a mistake. Go for the real stuff. And honestly, I think next time I make this recipe, which believe you me there will be a next time, I’ll go for an arborio rice instead of basmati. The basmati just didn’t have enough body for me. I’ve made a few other alterations to the recipe, but left the spiced plums untouched, and they were truly divine.

If you are looking for one last warm, rich, indulgence before the season of light and bright food begins, take this one for a spin. I guarantee it won’t disappoint.

Spiced Plum Rice Pudding | Bird is the Word (13 of 15)

Spiced Plum Rice Pudding
Author: Adapted from Sophie Dahl
  • Pudding:
  • 2 cups milk (or half and half if you’re feeling saucy)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeded
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 cup sugar or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup flaked almonds
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Plums:
  • 4 plums
  • juice of 1/2 orange
  • 2 star anise
  • pinch of cloves
  • 1 tsp ginger syrup (can be found at Whole Foods)
  1. Pour the milk into a heavy bottomed pan with the cinnamon stick. Bring it to the boil and stir in the rice and scrape seeds from vanilla bean, also adding beans to infuse.
  2. Simmer on a very low heat for about 30 minutes, making sure that you keep stirring so the rice does not stick to the pan.
  3. Crush the cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar and extract their seeds. Throw the pods away and add the crushed seeds to the sugar. Season with salt.
  4. When the rice looks like a soupy milky risotto but still has a little bite, stir in the cardamom sugar or maple syrup and cook for another 5 – 10 minutes on low adding more milk if it starts to get dry.
  5. Spiced Plums
  6. Slice the plums in wedges. Place in a pan with the juice, star anise, cloves and ginger syrup – heat on low until the plums are slightly softened and the flavours have infused. Do not stir the plums as they will lose their shape. This is a slow process, be patient! Once you have a nice syrup in the bottom of the pan, the plums are done. Let cool.
  7. Top the pudding with the plums and almonds. Enjoy!


  1. I want to dash home and make this RIGHT. NOW.