Native Wild Rice Pudding
with Maple Syrup and Wine Soaked Cherries

Serves 6 to 8

Native Wild Rice Pudding with Maple Syrup and Wine Soaked Cherries


Hand-gathered native wild rice is quite different from the cultivated variety sold as "wild rice." The grains are soft gray-green and brown and of moderate length rather than long, shiny, and black, and it cooks more quickly, too. You can find real wild rice at Minnesota farmers' markets and over the Internet.

This earthy-watery grain of the North requires its regional counterparts—maple syrup and maple sugar for sweetening, and a spoonful of the Dried (most likely Michigan) Cherries in Red Wine. As wild rice has no gluten, you have to cook it with white rice to get a creamy texture. This recipe is based on one of Lucia Watson's, a heartland chef of distinction. Using a double boiler means you can leave the rice pretty much unattended for an hour or more.

1. Heat water in the bottom of a double boiler. Warm the milk in the top part over a separate burner. Add the two rices, salt, and butter, and set the mixture over the now simmering water. Cover and cook until the milk is absorbed, about 1-1/4 hours. Check the pot after 30 minutes to make sure there's plenty of water; add more if needed.

2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and butter a 6- to 8-cup baking dish.

3. Whisk the egg yolks with 1/4 cup of the sugar, the maple syrup, and the milk or cream. Gently stir this into the warm rice. Add all to the buttered dish, shake to distribute the contents, and sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of sugar over the top. Bake until the rice is set and the surface is handsomely burnished, 30 to 40 minutes. Serve warm with the cherries and cold cream.


Dried Cherries in Red Wine

Makes 1-1/2 cups

I've found all kinds of dried cherries at farmers' markets, as well as fresh ones-sour pie cherries, Bing, Rainier, and other varieties that you can't always find in groceries. Even dried sour cherries have that distinctive cherry pie flavor that the sweet ones do. I've used both separately and mixed together when I have some of each but not a full cup of one. You might need to add a little more sweetener if you're using all sour cherries.

1. Put the cherries, sugar, and all but 2 tablespoons of the wine in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Add the pepper and stir to dissolve the sugar. Cook over medium heat until the cherries are soft, about 10 minutes.

2. Dissolve the arrowroot in the remaining 2 tablespoons wine. Stir this into the cherries and cook for another minute, or until the sauce is clear and just a little thickened. Turn off the heat and add the almond extract. Store in a clean jar and refrigerate. After a few days, the cherry flavor will begin to emerge. Kept refrigerated; the cherries keep for weeks if not months.


Buy Seasonal Fruit Desserts: From Orchard, Farm, and Market


Seasonal Fruit Desserts

Excerpts and Recipes

This page created August 2010