Black Rice Vanilla Pudding with Perssimons

Black rice, vanilla and persimmon is a combination that I stumbled upon years ago at our restaurant Rupperts and is one that I often return to in early winter when persimmons are available. We are huge persimmon fans at 1508 and eat them around here like apples this time of year. We planted a couple persimmon trees a couple of years ago, this year we grew one delicious persimmon...we are looking forward to a large crop one of these years in the near future.  This year the best persimmons we have found for sale have been the Fuji variety from Hana Market, a small Japanese grocery within walking distance from our house.  Recently I contributed recipes to an anti-aging book and learned that black rice is considered an anti-aging super food because of its high concentration of antioxidants, who knew?

Last night we hosted a Home Restaurant for a small creative businesses holiday celebration.  For dessert we served–

Black Rice Vanilla Pudding with Persimmons over Vanilla Cake Garnished with Cashew Cream and Crispy Brown Rice

Black Rice Pudding– Cover black rice with rice milk, add a few vanilla beans split in half, a little vegan sugar and a pinch of salt, slowly cook over a low heat until the rice is tender.  No need to worry about getting the sweetness correct because this can be adjusted after the pudding finishes cooking.  Continue to add milk during cooking as needed.  Keep the pudding somewhat runny because even after cooking the rice will continue to absorb the milk.  Re-taste and add a bit of agave nectar if necessary to get to your desired sweetness.

Vanilla Cake- In a large bowl mix until just combined: 1 cup rice milk, 1 teaspoon unfiltered apple cider vinegar, 1 cup all purpose unbleached flour, 1/4 cup spelt flour, 2 tablespoons organic corn starch, 3/4 cup baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/3 cup grapeseed oil, 3/4 cup vegan sugar, the seeds from the inside of 3 vanilla beans.  Cook batter in individual silicone or cupcake molds at 350 degrees until springy to the touch, about 12 minutes (time varies depending on the size of individual cakes you are cooking).

Cashew Cream– Soak raw cashews in filtered water for at least an hour.  Puree in a high speed blender slowly adding soaking water until the mixture is the consistency of runny whip cream.  Sweeten with agave nectar.

Crispy Brown Rice– Place cooked brown rice on a sheet tray and toss with a little honey and a pinch of Himalayan salt.  Cook in a 325 degree oven, stirring often until crispy, take care not to burn.