Coconut rice cake with honeyed figs

A great back-pocket recipe for a simple baked dessert.


There's something reassuring about having desserts in your repertoire that require nothing more than a few pantry staples and something snatched from the fruit bowl, and even more so if they’re simple, fuss-free affairs to make. This coconut rice cake scores on both counts.

It starts out something like a rice pudding but, thanks to the eggs, sets so that you can slice it like a cake. I make it with coconut milk, for its flavour and natural creaminess, and tamp a couple of halved figs drizzled with honey into the top, which roast up and intensify nicely while the cake cooks. It all comes together quickly, a few bits of activity I can manage while cleaning up after dinner, so it’s completely doable as a weeknight dessert, and it scales up easily for entertaining or larger family tables.

The amount of coconut milk might seem strangely exact, but it's only because there's a commonly available small can of coconut milk that's 180ml (6 fl oz), and convenience (or sheer laziness) led me to develop the recipe around it. It might also be helpful to know that my little baking dish, which you can see in the photo, measures 20 by 13 cm and is 5 cm deep (about 8 x 5 x 2 inches).

Coconut rice cake with honeyed figs


For 2.

100g (½ cup) short grain rice, such as arborio
125ml (½ cup) water
180ml (⅔ cup) coconut milk
2 eggs
3 tablespoons light muscovado sugar (or brown sugar)
2 ripe figs
1 teaspoon honey

In a small saucepan, bring the rice, water and half of the coconut milk to the edge of a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes; the rice will absorb most of the liquid. Remove from the heat, uncover and allow it to cool slightly while you get on with the rest of the ingredients.

Set your oven to 180°C (350°F).

In a bowl, whisk the eggs together with a fork. Add the sugar and remaining coconut milk and mix until well combined.

Add the cooked rice and stir together. Pour into a small baking dish.

Halve the figs and arrange on top of the rice. Drizzle a little honey over the figs and bake for 30 minutes, until set and golden.

Let it sit for 5 minutes or so, then slice and serve.