Sticky Rice "Cake" with Coconut Cream "Frosting"

Credit where it's due: I got the idea for this dessert from Thai Airways. They served it on one flight, and I though it was a great simple idea that combined two of my favorites: sweet sticky rice and coconut cream topping. Sweet sticky rice is usually made with palm sugar, but I like the crisp whiteness that using fine white sugar gives this dish. As a variation, you can try adding a tablespoon of pandan flavoring to the sticky rice layer, which will give it a light green color, like fine jade.

Sweet sticky rice cake
Sweet sticky rice "cake" with coconut cream "frosting"

(4 - 6 Servings)

Sticky Rice Layer

Ingredients

Sticky (glutinous) Rice240 g / 1 c(Before cooking)
Coconut Cream220 ml / 1 c
White Sugar120 g / ½ c

Preparation Method

  • Before cooking sticky rice, it must first be washed. Rinse the rice in a strainer until the water is clear. Traditional wisdom in Thailand is that it takes three washings to properly clean the dust off the rice.
  • Here's the tricky part: the rice must be soaked overnight (in other words, about eight hours or more) before cooking.
  • Next, sticky rice must be steamed, not boiled, so you cannot use a traditional rice cooker unless it has a strainer to keep the water separated from the rice. You also get the best results if the rice is a uniform depth when cooking. I've gotten my best results using a round cake pan with a mesh bottom placed in a vegetable steamer. The pan allows the rice to be smoothed to an even depth, while the mesh bottom allows the steam through without letting the rice fall out. Steam the rice about 20 minutes.
  • While the rice is cooking, stir together the sugar and coconut cream. It helps dissolve the sugar if you warm the coconut cream for 20 to 30 seconds in the microwave before stirring in the sugar.
  • As soon as the rice is cooked, transfer it to a large bowl and pour the sweet coconut cream over it. Stir it to mix and let it set. If you seem to have too much liquid, strain the mixture to remove the excess.
  • Once the mixture has cooled slightly, you can transfer it to a square pan - an eight-inch one works well. Spread the rice out to form a flat layer about a half-inch thick. Keep it in the refrigerator to make it firm.

Coconut Cream Topping

Ingredients

Coconut cream220 ml / 1 c
Rice flour20 g / 1 T
Salt½ tsp

Preparation Method

  • To create the coconut cream second layer, mix together the coconut milk, rice flour and salt in a pan. Heat to boiling over medium flame, stirring until it thickens. Remove from heat and spoon onto the top of the first layer.
  • Store in the refrigerator.

Serving note: If you refrigerate this dessert - which you will want to do if you've made it well ahead of time - be sure to take it out well enough ahead of time to be served at room temperature. The dish doesn't taste very good cold, and needs to be room temperature or warmer. You can cut the dessert into oblong pieces, or use an egg ring as I did for the photo to make a larger portion - leaving lots of leftover bits to spoil your dinner with.

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