When Henry the Wonderdog was a puppy, I took him to Mom’s after she’d decorated the house for Christmas, and she showed me her latest find: a stuffed reindeer that played Christmas carols. She was dying to see how Henry would react to it, because that’s what you do when you have a puppy: you spin it and tickle it and show it things to see what happens. We took turns squeezing the reindeer and making it sing, but Henry just stared off into the distance, totally ignoring the flashing nose and that one blaring verse of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

So, we were talking and warming up Mom’s rice pudding, when we heard that familiar verse of “Rudolph” coming from the next room. Henry was neutered soon afterward.

To this day, I can’t hear “Rudolph” or eat rice pudding without thinking of Henry humping that reindeer. Glad to pass that special Christmas memory on to you, along with my recipe for Coconut Rice Pudding with Cranberries and Pistachios.

Coconut Rice Pudding with Cranberries and Pistachios

From Rebecca Crump (Ezra Pound Cake)

  • 1 cup cooked long grain or basmati rice
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped unsalted pistachios
  1. In a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat, combine the cooked rice, milk and a pinch of salt. Heat until the mixture begins to boil. Decrease the heat to low and simmer until the mixture begins to thicken, stirring frequently, approximately 5 minutes.
  2. Increase the heat to medium, add the heavy cream, coconut milk, sugar, orange blossom water, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook until the mixture thickens again, approximately 5  minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat, and stir in the cranberries and pistachios.