Bruce Auden’s Gingered Rice Pudding

1 quart half-and-half
2 pints heavy cream
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 cup sugar
2-inch piece unpeeled fresh ginger, sliced in a fan shape but still in one piece
1/2 vanilla bean, split
Pinch kosher salt
5 egg yolks
1 pint heavy cream, whipped firm
Cranberry-cactus pear sauce (recipe follows)
Persimmon purée (recipe follows)
Cherry conserve (recipe follows)
Maple-chocolate sauce (recipe follows)
8 sprigs fresh mint (optional)

Combine first 7 ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pan. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered until mixture becomes thick, at least 1 hour. Stir often, using a wooden spoon to prevent sticking. When mixture is thick, remove from heat. Remove ginger and vanilla bean. Stir in yolks while mixture is hot. Cool in refrigerator, stirring occasionally. When completely cool, gradually fold in whipped cream; thickness of pudding is determined by amount of cream added. (If pudding becomes too runny, spoon into cups and glaze under broiler until brown and serve in cup. Sauces and conserve may then be added in small amounts.)

For efficiency in preparation, start the pudding, then make, in order, cranberry-cactus pear sauce, persimmon purée, cherry conserve, and maple chocolate sauce.

To arrange, cover each plate with 2 ounces of persimmon purée. Highlight with drizzles of cranberry sauce. Spoon on rice pudding, and drizzle with chocolate sauce. Spoon conserve onto plate. Garnish with mint.

Serves 8.

Cranberry-Cactus Pear Sauce

1 cup cranberries
4 fresh red cactus pears
Juice of 3 oranges
Zest f 1 orange, in large pieces

Peel cactus pears, discarding thick peel and saving red pulp. Combine pulp with other ingredients in saucepan and bring to boil. Then simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove zest and purée mixture in blender. Strain and cool.

Note: Sauce is very tart. If you are using it for another dish, It should be sweetened to taste.

Persimmon Purée

3 large, overripe persimmons
Apple juice or other juice as needed

Squeeze pulp of persimmons by hand into blender and purée. Thin to smooth, pourable consistency with juice and strain.

Tart-Cherry Conserve

2 cups dried cherries
2 cups apple cider
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup sugar
Pinch ground cinnamon, to taste
Pinch ground cloves, to taste
1/2 cup pecan halves

Combine first 3 ingredients in saucepan. Cover and cook until cherries are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove lid and add sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. Slowly bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add nuts the last 3 minutes of cooking. Remove from heat and serve at room temperature.

Note: Dried cherries are available at Simon David stores in Austin and Dallas and from American Spoon Foods, 411 E. Lake, Petoskey, Michigan 49770, 1-800-222-5886.

Maple-Chocolate Sauce

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, in small pieces
1 ounce maple syrup


Combine both ingredients in top of double boiler, stirring until chocolate is melted. Keep warm until ready to use.

From “A Grande Finale,” originally featured in Domain, Fall 1988