Recipe: Tama Matsuoka Wong's Wild Barberry Rice Pudding

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This pudding makes a great winter holiday dessert with its jewel-like red and cream colors. The light fluffiness of the sweet rice pudding pairs nicely with the barberry’s full-bodied wild flavor with hints of cranberry. You can prepare this ahead of time, keeping it in the refrigerator and taking it out an hour before serving.

Serves 4 to 6


Rice Pudding

1⁄2 cup short-grain or sushi rice

3 1⁄2 cups whole milk

7 tablespoons heavy cream

1⁄2 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Barberry Coulis

11⁄2 cups ripe barberries

1 cup sugar



1 cup whole milk

1⁄2 cup heavy cream

1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 large egg yolks

1⁄4 cup sugar


1. To make the rice pudding, preheat the oven to 300°F.

2. Rinse the rice by submerging it in a bowl of cold water, swishing it around, and draining. Repeat twice.

3. In a large ovenproof saucepan, heat the milk and cream, stirring in the sugar, salt, and vanilla. As the mixture begins to simmer, add the rice. Cover the pan and transfer to the oven for 1 hour until the rice is cooked and has absorbed the liquid. Remove the lid and set aside to cool. 

4. To make the barberry coulis, in a medium saucepan combine the barberries and sugar with ¾ cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until softened and the liquid is a jewel-like red color. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Pass through a food mill or strainer to remove the black seeds. Be sure to press through as much of the pulp as possible so that the coulis is nice and thick.

5. To make the custard, heat the milk, cream, and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat until nearly boiling. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until well combined. Slowly pour half of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking to combine, and then pour everything back into the saucepan. Stir with a wooden spoon over medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until thickened. Do not boil or the mixture will curdle. Remove from the heat, pour into a heatproof bowl, and cool completely in the refrigerator.

6. Mix the custard with the rice. Spoon half of the mixture into 4 to 6 individual serving dishes (such as ramekins or martini glasses), add a dollop of barberry coulis, and top with the remaining pudding. Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight.


Reprinted from Foraged Flavor by Tama Matsuoka Wong with Eddy Leroux. Copyright (c) 2012. Photos copyright (c) 2012 by Thomas Schauer Studio for Photography LLC. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, LLC.