The Dish | Coconut Milk Rice Pudding with Peaches and Star Anise

I have a long love affair with rice pudding—beginning with my great-grandmother Babcia‘s homemade version, evolving into a Kozy Shack obsession, and more recently arriving at this dairy-free version which is easier on my lactose-intolerant tummy. Make it now, before the last-of-summer peaches disappear!

Makes about 4 cups, 4–6 servings

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 cup medium-grain white rice (such as arborio)
  • 1 13.5-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 ⅔ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 6 large yellow peaches (about 1 ½ pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ cup (about 1 ½ ounces) sliced almonds, toasted

Making the simple syrup

  • Combine the water, sugar, and star anise in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Bring to a boil and cook just until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat. Be sure not to overcook, or you’ll end up with candy instead of simple syrup.
  • Set aside to cool and allow the star anise to infuse into the syrup.

Prepare the rice pudding

  • Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to be sure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Lower the heat to a simmer and cover with a lid set ajar to allow steam to escape.
  • Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is mostly absorbed, the rice is cooked, and the pudding is creamy. 

Prepping the peaches

  • While the pudding simmers, prepare the peaches. Slice the peaches. Heat the coconut oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until shimmering, then add the peach slices in a single layer (cook in batches if needed).
  • Cook the peaches quickly, about 1-2 minutes per side, so that they are caramelized on the outside but still retain their shape. They will stick a bit; use a firm spatula to scrape them up and flip them.
  • Once all the peaches are cooked, return them all to the pan, turn off the heat, and add one-third of the simple syrup.
  • While the syrup sizzles and reduces a bit, use a spatula to scrape up any stuck-on bits from the bottom of the pan. Leave the pan to cool with the peaches in it.

Putting it all together

  • When the rice pudding is done, mix in half of the remaining simple syrup and stir well to combine.
  • Serve the pudding in bowls or parfait dishes, topped with the peaches and a sprinkling of toasted almonds.
  • Serve the remaining simple syrup in a small pitcher for diners to drizzle as they choose.

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