Coconut and Elderflower Rice Pudding for M. Satie

The other day I was listening to a fine rendition of Erik Satie’s ‘Je te veux’ on the radio and, for some reason, I remembered that he claimed to eat only white food. This choice may have stemmed from an artistic desire for purity, although, let’s face it, Satie was as mad as a box of frogs a trifle eccentric.

I started to imagine what I’d serve up if Satie came round for dinner. I wouldn't put it past him to turn up out of the blue with a bouquet of umbrellas in hand expecting to be fed. I'm not sure that being dead for nearly 90 years would stop him. The starter could be a white soup, I suppose, and maybe chicken in a white sauce for the main course. But this is definitely the dessert.

My version of coconut rice pudding isn't dairy-free, because I like the silkiness that the dairy elements bring to the dish. The fromage frais not only gives some extra creaminess, but also adds a little sharpness, which I think lifts the flavour of the pudding.

There are other elderflower liqueurs around, but I used St-Germain. You could use some elderflower cordial instead if you want to avoid booze. I know that St-Germain is not truly white – it’s more of a light straw colour – but I think M. Satie may be willing to make an exception to his white rule for alcohol. He was all too fond of a particular green form of alcohol, after all. (I've no connection with the St-Germain company, by the way, and I've never received so much as a drop of liqueur for being nice about them.)
Coconut and Elderflower Rice Pudding
I dished up five servings from the amounts given, but I've no idea how much M. Satie will eat if he ever arrives. After all he insisted that dinner should last for no more than four minutes.

120 g short-grain, pudding rice
400 ml coconut milk (you can use reduced fat coconut milk at the expense of a little richness)
80 g caster sugar
400 ml milk (full-fat ideally, although it’s not essential)
8 tbsp fromage frais (ideally a richer version rather than a fat-free option)
2 tbsp elderflower liqueur such as St-Germain
A sprinkling of white chocolate curls for decoration

Mix the rice, coconut milk, sugar and milk in a saucepan. Bring slowly to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer very gently, stirring regularly, until the mixture has thickened and the rice is tender. If you’re being very gentle, this could be 35 – 40 minutes. Remember to keep stirring towards the end of this time to prevent the mixture from sticking to the pan.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Stir in the liqueur and the fromage frais. Chill until you’re ready to serve.

To serve, place into serving glasses or dishes (white dishes, of course) and decorate with a few white chocolate curls. I make the curls by scraping a vegetable peeler very lightly across a cold bar of white chocolate.


  1. I would never have thought of coconut and elderflower together Phil. What a great combo - and you have inspired me to try out some rice pudding recipes. Thank you sir!

  2. Oh la la......délicieux!
    Merci beaucoup pour la recette.

  3. Love the addition of the elderflower liqueur. Sounds delicious, and I'm sure M.Satie would be delighted with it.

  4. I had no idea that there was an elderflower liqueur... I think I may have just been living under a rock :) Any idea if it will be available in Canada? I am actually working on a few cocktail recipes, and this would be just perfect.

    Rice pudding is my favourite dessert... and I think these flavours would be just fantastic in it. What a fab recipe, Phil!!

    1. Thanks Michelle. I don't know for sure but I'd be surprised if St-Germain wasn't available in Canada. It's certainly available across Europe and I'm told (I think reliably) that it's widely available in the USA.

    2. I am heading to my liquor store to look tomorrow :)

  5. To quote the vernacular of our new homeland - that looks "lush". As someone who spent hours trying to master M Satie and his Gymnopedies in my youth, I'm not sure I'd give him any of this, to be honest - especially as it's the sort of thing I'd want to keeop all to myself. Thanks for the recipe - inspired.

  6. Such a delicious and elegant looking pudding Phil; I adore elderflower and love coconut milk, such wonderful flavor combinations - on my wish list : )

  7. Sounds like a wonderful collection of flavours for being plain white! It does look pretty. Very intrigued by coconut milk and elderflower together. I love a touch of booze in a dessert!

  8. It does look Mighty elegant, if Mr Satie doesn't drop by, may I?


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