The lilacs started budding a few weeks ago and I started thinking of ways to use them rather immediately. The idea that popped into my head and wouldn't leave me alone was lilac rice pudding. I've been a fan of rice pudding since childhood – something about that creamy, comforting dish has always stuck with me. Admittedly, I don't make it often but this idea of infusing that favorite comfort food with edible flowers just wouldn't leave me alone. When the flowers began opening up last week, I decided to give it a try and boy, am I glad that I did.
Lilacs blossoms are indeed edible and delicious. They also do not taste like they smell. If you've eaten lavender – you know it tastes quite a bit like it smells. Lilac flavor is much milder than it's perfume implies.
Make It Quick
This recipe requires already cooked, leftover rice. A little planning means this can be made rather quickly. Cook extra rice for dinner tonight and use the leftovers for lilac rice pudding tomorrow. If no leftover rice is on hand, simply cook the rice than proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Use Only the Blossoms
Only use the blossoms, the flowers not the stems or leaves here. The stems can be a little bitter, so for this recipe simply snip or the pull lilac blossoms from their stems and collect in a bowl until ready to use. The snipping of the lilac blossoms does take a little bit of time, but is not hard work and in fact, can be a nice way to relax on the porch for a bit.
Use any cooked rice favored in your household. I generally use short-grain brown rice but whatever you have on hand will work. Use regular dairy milk or some nut alternative as desired or required for dietary considerations. Honey could easily be switched for the maple syrup as a sweetener.
- 4 Cups Milk (cow, goat, rice, coconut, almond - any will do)
- 1 ½ Cups Cooked Rice (brown, white, etc.)
- ⅓ Cup Maple Syrup
- 3 Tablespoons Cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cup Lilac Blossoms (1/2 ounce by weight)
- In a saucepan, whisk together the milk, maple syrup, and cornstarch. Add the rice and whisk to break up any clumps.
- Over medium heat bring the mixture to a light simmer. Turn down the heat to medium low and cook for about 18 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent scorching. At this point, the mixture to coat the back of spoon thickly.
- Add the lilac blossoms and vanilla extract, stir well. Cook another 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and pour into serving dish and refrigerate. The pudding will thicken more as it cools.
- Serve chilled.