When I was a kid, there was always a box or two of Jell-o pudding in our pantry – it was great for a quick dessert and when you poured it into a pie shell? Voil? – pudding pie! These days, I make my pudding from scratch (you wouldn’t believe how easy it is) and I play around with the flavors. Like this Tropical Coconut Rum Pudding… It’s not your average from-a-mix dessert. This pudding is laced with dark rum and the fruit is soaked in it – ’cause you know, that’s how we roll!
Cornstarch is the essential thickener in most puddings. Mix it with about half a cup of milk and set it aside while assembling the rest of the pudding. Heat the remainder of the milk with the sugar and cream of coconut, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves and the milk is steaming. Don’t let it come to a boil! Then whisk the cornstarch mixture into the hot milk and stir over the heat until thickened. It only takes a few minutes.
When the pudding has thickened, stir in a pat of butter and the rum — and try to abstain from diving headfirst into the pot.
Pour the pudding into ramekins or bowls and chill for several hours. I like to make it in the morning so it’s ready for dessert that night.
Prep the fruit about 30 minutes to an hour before serving. Feel free to use whatever kind of fruit you like for this — we’ve got so many mangoes right now, I’m looking for any excuse to use them – so in they go! Make sure you cut the fruit uniformly into small pieces (roughly the same size as a blueberry). Its an aesthetics thing — you don’t want big hunks of fruit overpowering a half-cup ramekin of pudding.
Spoon the fresh fruit over the pudding and sprinkle with toasted coconut. This pudding is a real treat! Silky smooth, with bright tropical notes and a hint of rum. (BTW- if you like a more forward rum flavor, drizzle a little extra over the top of the pudding and enjoy!
Coconut Rum Pudding with Tropical Fruit
- 2 1/2 cups milk divided
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup cream of coconut such as Coco Lopez
- 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise
- pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
- 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
For the fruit salad
- 1/2 cup small-diced mango
- 1/2 cup small diced strawberries
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and cook until lightly toasted about 4-6 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch. Whisk together.
In a medium saucepan combine the rest of the milk, sugar and cream of coconut and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the milk is just starting to steam -- do not boil.
Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the hot milk mixture and stir constantly over medium heat until pudding begins to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and rum to combine.
Pour pudding into a serving dish or individual 1/2 cup ramekins and refrigerate 3-4 hours until chilled.
About 1 hour before serving, make the fruit salad. In a small bowl, combine the mango, blueberries and strawberries. Sprinkle with sugar and rum and toss to coat. Let the fruit sit for at least 20-30 minutes until the sugar is dissolved.
To serve, spoon macerated fruit over the pudding and sprinkle with a tablespoon or so of toasted coconut. Enjoy!