Serving dessert in Mason jars is on trend and makes for a fun presentation with a dash of nostalgia. For my husband’s recent birthday I made him one of his favorite desserts, a creamy rice pudding. To kick it up a notch and make it festive, I served it parfait-style with layers of caramelized pineapple and a topping of shaved coconut in Mason jars. The dessert was a hit. Portions served in these jars tend to be on the large side. Mason or Ball jars are readily available at supermarkets, hardware or general department stores for a song.
MASON JAR RICE PUDDINGs with CARAMELIZED PINEAPPLE and ROASTED COCONUT (Makes 8 pint size Mason jar servings or 12 smaller servings)
FOR THE RICE PUDDING:
8 c whole milk
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 c sugar
1 1/2 c arborio rice
1 large egg
1 c heavy cream
1 t vanilla bean paste or extract
Bring the milk, butter and sugar to a gentle boil. Add the rice. Reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring often. Mix together the egg, cream and vanilla. Add to rice mixture and assess creaminess/thickness. If it appears too runny as mine did, return to boil, stirring constantly, for a few more minutes, until Desired consistency is achieved. The pudding will thicken slightly as it cools. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and cool in refrigerator at least 2 hours or overnight..
FOR THE CARAMELIZED PINEAPPLE:
Sprinkle 4 c of fresh pineapple cut in bite-size chunks with some brown sugar and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Broil for 5-7 minutes until caramelized. Watch closely so the pineapple does not burn. Cool.