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Rice Pudding with Pomegranate Sauce

March 16, 2021
Negin A./FlickrNegin A./Flickr

A most Jewish fruit, the pomegranate has a history even more indelible than its juice. With its distinctive crown-topped shape, it’s recognizable to many Jews as an object, typically making its annual guest appearance on the dinner table around Rosh Hashanah. Yet its culinary fortitude tends to be downplayed by many Jews (especially Ashkenazim), its puckery flavor still on the outskirts of the American palate.

Featured in: Consider the Pomegranate

Great for: Rosh Hashanah


For the Rice Pudding

  • 3cups cooked white rice*
  • 2 14oz cans (about 3 1/3 cups) coconut milk
  • ½cup sugar
  • 1tablespoon honey
  • 3-4cardamom pods
  • 1/8teaspoon cinnamon (a few dashes)
  • 1star of anise
  • ½teaspoon vanilla extract, or half a vanilla pod
  • pinch salt
  • 2tablespoons butter (optional)

For the Pomegranate Sauce

  • ½ cup pomegranate molasses
  • 1 ½ cup pomegranate juice (fresh or good quality)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • small squeeze of lemon juice
  • pinch salt
Yield: Makes 4 Servings


To make the Rice Pudding

  • Step 1

    In a large sauce pan, heat your coconut milk, sugar, honey, and spices until sugar has dissolved. Add your cooked rice and stir to incorporate. Bring mixture to boil, and continue stirring to prevent burning on the bottom. Continue to cook pudding on a low to medium boil for 20-30 minutes (this will depend on your stove and on the starch content of your rice), until you’ve achieved a sturdy, puddinglike consistency. Trust your intuition. Feel free to add some butter at any point. This will naturally thicken as it cools.

  • Step 2

    I find this rice pudding best served slightly warm or at room temperature.

  • *The choice of rice is ultimately up to you, though I prefer a medium grain Japonica style rice for its fragrance and starch content. Persian rice or a Thai style jasmine rice also work well. Brown rice will not work.

To make the Pomegranate Sauce

  • Step 1

    Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook while occasionally stirring, until sauce has reduced by about half and has the consistency of maple syrup, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

  • Step 2

    Be careful not to let syrup burn or turn to caramel; overcooking will darken the color and yield a too-thick syrup. Go low and slow. You can alternatively purchase a pre-made pomegranate sauce to save time.

  • Step 3

    Put rice pudding in a serving bowl or glass. Drizzle with pomegranate sauce, and top generously with fresh pomegranate seeds.

  • This sauce is also excellent drizzled over cheesecake, should you be so inclined.