Stokehouse Q has announced their much anticipated Christmas dessert for the festive season, and boy oh boy does it sound amazing. We’re talking coconut rice pudding, roasted macadamias, and everybody’s favourite, mango. Described as a culinary celebration of the quintessential Australian Christmas in summer, the dish was created by group pastry chef Lauren Eldridge, who previously worked at Osteria Francescana in Italy, and Le Cinq and Guy Savoy in France.

We caught up with her to see what she’s doing for Christmas, and how this dish has been influenced by her own festive memories.

What do you love about the recipe?
I love how simple but delicious this recipe is.  Rice pudding is normally a heavy winter dish, but this version is served cold and made with coconut cream so it really lightens the dish and suits the Australian weather.  Mango always reminds me of Christmas because it’s such a classic summer fruit.

Where did your inspiration come from?
This recipe is based on a traditional Danish Christmas pudding called ‘risalamande’, meaning rice with almonds.   It is a new tradition in my family to make this each Christmas, so it is close to my heart.  In Denmark it is served with a warm cherry sauce, but I wanted to bring a classic Australian element into this version which is why I opted for coconut, macadamias and mango.

Do you have a favourite Christmas meal or tradition you look forward to every year?
I look forward to our Christmas meal every year.  My family always has a big traditional English lunch including ham, roast pork and chicken, lots of roast vegetables and gravy, and of course the pork crackling!  It is always followed by a fruit pudding made from my great-grandmother’s recipe and the whole family gets involved when preparing it.

As someone who’s travelled and worked around the world, what makes Christmas in Australia so special?
As Australians, we are so lucky to have a wonderful blend of cultures in our country meaning there is such a special variety of Christmas tradition in the one place. We also have the luxury of an abundance of fresh produce we can use during summer to make our version of the perfect Christmas meal.  And of course, the beautiful weather- people always seem happier when the sun is out!

My favourite thing about Christmas is…
For me, Christmas is about spending time with family and loved ones.  My partner is Danish so I love incorporating this dish into our Christmas celebrations.  What makes it even more special is how much my brother’s partner enjoys it, last year my boyfriend taught her the traditional recipe on Boxing Day. I think it’s a beautiful part of Christmas when we can honour traditions while also making new ones as the family grows.

Coconut Rice Pudding with Macadamia and Mango

• 170g arborio rice
• 170g water
• 400mL coconut milk
• 400g coconut cream
• 1 vanilla bean
• 3g table salt
• 250g cream
• 100g caster sugar
• 75g macadamias

Combine the rice and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a low simmer, stirring every few minutes until the water has been absorbed. Add the coconut milk, coconut cream, scraped vanilla bean and salt. Continue cooking on a low simmer until the rice has softened, adding a little bit more coconut milk if necessary. Stir occasionally to avoid the rice sticking to the bottom of the pan. Transfer the cooked rice to a bowl. Place cling film directly onto the surface of the rice to avoid a skin forming. Leave to cool completely, preferably overnight. While the rice is cooling, preheat the oven to 150°C. Lightly spray the macadamias with a canola oil spray and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 10 minutes. Leave to cool before chopping into small pieces. The day of serving, whip the cream and caster sugar together until medium peaks. Loosen the cooked rice in the bowl, adding a splash of coconut milk or cream if necessary. Remove the vanilla bean and fold in the chopped macadamias. Fold in the whipped cream. Serve with freshly cut mango and a scoop of mango sorbet.

Mango Sorbet

• 2 large mangoes
• 150g water
• 125g caster sugar
• 1 lime, juiced
• 20g rum (optional)

Peel and cut the mango into cubes. Freeze overnight. Over a low heat, dissolve the caster sugar into the water but do not boil. Leave to cool. Once the syrup is cool, place the mango, sugar syrup, lime juice and rum (if using) into a food processor and blend until smooth. If it is not blending easily, add a dash more water to loosen the mix. Churn in an ice cream maker following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Note: To make this dessert vegan, replace the cream with more coconut cream – dissolve the sugar into 200g of coconut cream and allow to cool before folding into the cooked rice.

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