Life lesson #246.

When in doubt. Bake.

No matter what your question is. No matter what you want your answer to be. Bake.

Let me give you a case study. (Straight from the eatswellwithothers guide to life. Otherwise known as “How to Deal With Medical School Or Any Other Life-Consuming Endeavor While Keeping All of Your Fingers and Toes”. Written by yours truly.)

You are a first year medical student (Really? Why? Go to cooking school. You’ll be happier). It is Sunday. The day before a big exam.

Coincidentally. It is also Mother’s Day. (Didn’t ANY of the instructors consult a calendar before making up the course schedule? I thought Mother’s Day was supposed to be a Day of Worship! Psst. Mom. Read this part!)

So you are now faced with two challenges. One. You have to pass your test. Two. You have to do so while keeping the title of “Best Daughter In The Eatswellwithothers Household” as far away from your sister as possible. (More easier done than said. Sorry, Dana.)

What do you do?

Well you’ve read the handbook. So you know that the answer to all of life’s questions is to get in the kitchen. Whip out the flour, sugar, and eggs. And get to work.
Corollaries. There are a few.

Bake with fruit. Moms like fruit. And it will make them feel like they raised you right. Because, hey, you are eating fruit!

When your mom asks you if this dessert is good for her. Lie to her. Tell her it will make her look better in her bikini. Then encourage her to have seconds.

Don’t listen to your dad when he tries to tell you what he wants to have for dessert on Mother’s Day. Hear him out. Calmly. When he reminds you of all of his likes and dislikes. (Likes – chocolate and vanilla. Plain and unadulterated. Dislikes – everything else.) Explain to him that coconut milk does not have the same texture as shredded coconut. And that any dessert worth making includes lemon in some form or another. So if he thinks you are omitting either of those things from a recipe entitled COCONUT RICE PUDDING CAKE. Well. He can think again. Or wait until Father’s Day. Then maybe you’ll consider it.
Choose a recipe from Deborah Madison’s new cookbook – Seasonal Fruit Desserts. Because I absolutely promise that you cannot go wrong.

I received this book to review about a month ago and since then I have paged through it at least once a day. Hemming and hawing about what I would make.

Flip flopping. From one fruit-laden dessert to another. (Yes. I am a flip flopper. And because of that you can bet that I will not be going into politics anytime soon.)

Recipes as simple as Warm Apricots with Honey and Yogurt. Baked Rhubarb with Vanilla, Orange and Clove.

To those that are a little more involved. Walnut-Pecan Maple Tart. Concord Grape Fold-Over Pie. You know. The ones that would require you to actually figure out how to make pastry dough. (Sigh. Someday.)

And then of course. The whole chapter on puddings and gelees. Have I mentioned that I am addicted to pudding?

In addition to the wide variety of delicious-sounding recipes, the cookbook is also filled with mouth-watering pictures. Not of everything, but of most. And each time you look at them, you think, hmmm yes I will make that. Today. Tomorrow. Soon.

And then, of course, there are the stories. Now I don’t know about you, but I love cookbooks that impart a bit of the author’s life and personality. Throughout the book, Madison offers vignettes on different fruits, sharing her experiences with them. A memory. An impression. A dedication. She focuses on eating locally and seasonally and never restricts you to the fruits that are used in her recipes, advocating that you use what you have. And, above all, rely on your intuition. If you think it will taste good. It probably will.

(For example, the raspberry compote that I made was actually supposed to be blueberry compote. But the raspberries being sold here looked way better than the blueberries. So I substituted. Delicious.)
I would love to be able to give you the recipe for this fantastic Coconut Rice Pudding Cake with Raspberry Compote, which is subtly sweet and yet completely addicting. But I can’t. (By law.)

I can, however, advocate that you buy this cookbook. Because, especially if you like fruit. And dessert. I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed.

Just ask my mother.

I am submitting this to Weekend Herb Blogging which is being hosted this week by Marija of Palachinka.
Disclaimer – Although I received this cookbook for free, I did not receive any monetary compensation for doing this review. My thoughts and feelings on it are entirely my own.

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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67 Responses to Coconut Rice Pudding Cake with Raspberry Compote – A Review of Deborah Madison’s Seasonal Fruit Desserts

  1. Nadji says:

    Un dessert délicieux.
    Bravo! j’aime beaucoup.
    A bientôt.

  2. Yummy! this does look gorgeous! I am off to order this book!

  3. Rachel says:

    This looks like a stellar dessert. Your lucky mom must have appreciated this tasty offering. Great review.

  4. Debbi Smith says:

    Excellent looking dessert! I like the raspberries better than blueberries anyway, they are gorgeous! Thanks!

  5. knk says:

    coco nut rice cake?
    i neer heard about it, but it looks great

    nice post i think we have to try this in home

  6. What a colorful dish! It’s a bookcover in itself. I’m bookmarking this one, because I love anything with coconut.

  7. Beautiful one, unique and different yet very delicious..

  8. I love rice pudding. I love cake. I have never seen rice pudding cake but OMG it looks amazing!! You always manage to find the best recipes!

  9. Jamie says:

    Fabulous dessert! I have been dreaming of a good rice pudding with a red fruit coulis and you made it! Now, sadly, my sons could not care less about Mother’s Day, so if I ask very nicely will you come to my house and make this luscious dessert – I am perfectly fine with coconut – for me? Thank you!

  10. Muneeba says:

    Noooooooo … how dare u let such small thing like the LAW stop u from giving me this recipe??? I cry much. Because u must know how I LOVE rice pudding! You’ve been to Rice To Riches I presume … say “yes”. And u’ve tried their caramel flavor?? I dream of it.

  11. Pam says:

    Great looking dessert! Love those raspberries and I can only imagine how delicious this is!

  12. Mo Diva says:

    its beautiful! im amazed that you can write and bake such lenghty and entertaining posts while kickin ass in med school.
    Ms. Bruno, you is my hero and i want you to cook for me.

  13. Dana says:

    I just walked by that book in the bookstore yesterday. I love her and have almost all of her cookbooks. I’m a chocolate girl, but I do love making fruit desserts all summer.

  14. so true…when in doubt bake….it soothes the soul and focuses you on the here and now 🙂

  15. SE says:

    this looks so wonderful..definitely a good idea to go through the book for fruit recipe..thanks for sharing !

  16. What a splendid way to eat rice pudding! I just love that compote. I dunno which topping I like best..this or the Rhubarb Strawberry topping u had made for the cheesecake..I want to make one pretty soon.

  17. Barbara says:

    So how did the test go?

    I have to admit, I much prefer these gorgeous raspberries to blueberries. The color is so vivid. I’ve never made a rice pudding cake…and I love rice pudding, so that’s rather a surprise. Great recipe, Joanne. Sounds like a super cookbook!

  18. msmeanie says:

    Your mom is so lucky to have you bake for her, and the day before an exam? That’s even more impressive!

  19. elra says:

    They look so pretty that I feel like almost a sin to ruin the decoration.

  20. Katerina says:

    I had a similar problem when I was persuing my MBA in the States. There was one week that I had 2 exams and our Finance teacher gave us another one. He was from Iran and when I went and told him that that was not fair, he told me something which from then on I remember and have said it many times. He said to me “Dear who told that life is fair?”. He was right. I will always remember him for that. You did the right thing and you baked. It looks really good.

  21. You’re such a humorous writer! No doubt, Pops can have the dessert he wants in June. 🙂 Love the swirl on this cake.

  22. Katerina says:

    Sorry, the correct word is pursuing and not persuing. I guess my English start to become rusty.

  23. What a gorgeous rice pudding cake. You have so many of my favorites in this delicious dessert. Thanks for sharing info about Deborah Madison’s book. xo

  24. Amy says:

    I love your guide to life. Baking=good. And I do not discriminate. Chocolate, vanilla, fruit, coconut, crispy, smooth, baked, blended, chilled. All good.

    And the fact that you are a flip-flopper says that you would be perfect for politics!

  25. Faith says:

    I can only imagine how moist and delicious this must be! And that raspberry swirl on top is just gorgeous. Your mom is one lucky lady. 🙂

  26. Sippity Sup says:

    Great review. So thorough. Now I want the book. GREG

  27. Raina says:

    This cookbook sounds wonderful. I also love when a cookbook gives a story or history with the dish. It just makes the dish more special. Your rice pudding looks amazing.

    I guess you will just have to make your dad something plain chocolate for Father’s Day (my dad and husband are the same way..they only like very basic desserts).

  28. teresa says:

    i’d say a dessert like this does entitle you to best-daughter award! i love the swirls, delicious and beautiful!

  29. Lol, am sure Dana, is as wonderful as u, so maybe we have 2 crowns and tittles this time round….[running away from Jo as i speak]
    Talk about Exams during our ”happenning”weekends!
    MAybe if Hallmark or Archies work together with our collages,it might haelp????the Number of days they have for gifting-but i love it!!!
    Love the book u recieved, i got my first email for a book am gng to be mailed with , but these books sre a dream around here!!!
    Pudding-gorgeous… the Berry compote swirling a blush around…super gorgeous and chunky is to love!!

  30. Um.. I’ll be placing an order on Amazon tonight for this book because it sounds wonderful! And the pudding looks wonderful! And wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!

    PS. 10+ hrs a day in a hospital pretending to be useful = not wonderful (in case you thought I was getting out of control with the joyousness).

  31. Kim says:

    Awesome review:D This is such a fun and unique dessert. Sounds like a great book filled with some new and interesting ways to spruce up dessert. I’ll be checking it out at the mall this weekend.
    P.S. I’m a flip flopper too, especially when it comes to cooking.

  32. i’ve yet to try sweet rice puddings…hmm hope i have a chance soon 🙂 this one looks super delightful!

  33. Kelsey says:

    this reminds me that everytime i bake something i always take some over to my mom to try. given she is very opinionated i get a little afraid.. but thankfully she likes what i make. she is such a raspberry addict and WOULD LOVE THIS RECIPE! yum <3

  34. tigerfish says:

    Oh no no….your life lesson gotta be for talented bakers like you. For me, it will be:

    No baking all the way, in doubt or not. :O

  35. Looks beautiful presentation dear with raspberry compot delicious n yummy pudding.

  36. sophia says:

    Oh yes…I’ve certainly be baking to get rid of my exam blues! I’ve never heard of a rice pudding cake, let alone a coconut one. Gosh, your lucky roommates!

  37. Debinhawaii says:

    I had my eye on this dessert too! It looks wonderful–it’s a great book.

  38. Delicious and light dessert, love it! 🙂

  39. Marisa says:

    I’m a fellow pudding lover and even though I’m a bit squeamish about berries (yeah, I’m weird like that), the raspberry swirl on top looks absolutely divine.

    Cookbook sounds great too, the voyeur in me loves it when a author shares little glimpses into their life along with the recipes.

    PS: Love the last little bit in your disclaimer about your thoughts & feelings being your own. Might consider using that in my own reviews – would you mind?

  40. What a lovely dessert! I like how you twirled the raspberry all around! I bet the flavors are to die for; was your mother happy?

  41. wow what a cool cake love this

  42. Azita says:

    what a delicious and stunning coconut rice pudding! must order the book! soon.

  43. It looks delicious! We love rice pudding here…I should grab that book. Great review!

  44. Debbie says:

    Looks like a delicious dessert!

  45. Nice swirl! Sigh..I wish I can bake more!

  46. Shannon says:

    so many recipes, too little time! this looks absolutely amazing 🙂

  47. Mary says:

    You really do amaze me. You either have a ginormous brain or have found a 36 hour day. I don’t know how you accomplish all that you do. Please don’t stop :-). I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  48. theUngourmet says:

    You really have way too many talents. This is magnificent! I love that swirl of fruit on top!

  49. Fantastic dessert. Beautifully presented. A+++

    Good luck with your schooling.


  50. Cristie says:

    Being a mother myself I can speak to this, you are right–mother’s do like fruit. Beautiful dessert. I love the swirl on top. Sounds like you made the grade.

  51. RamblingTart says:

    You’re such a lovely daughter, Joanne. 🙂 I cracked up at your descriptions of your Dad! Oh girl, he sounds just like mine. 🙂 The cake is splendid!!

  52. It’s also gorgous as well Joanne. Good choice. I am sure mom appreciated and Father’s Day is coming soon:D

  53. Nicole, RD says:

    Your mom is one lucky chick and I’m sure you’re her favorite daughter for the year! Looks wonderful!

  54. What a unique and delicious sounding dessert! The walnut maple tart sounds pretty darn delicious too. I bet Dad ended up liking it.

  55. Caroline says:

    This looks like heaven!

  56. Jessie says:

    Haha, ohhhhh sisters 🙂 I think you can keep your title of best in the Eatswellwithothers household with this gem. I would definitely substitute raspberry for the blueberry any day. The tartness and sweetness is just YUM! I’ll bet your parents loved it, even if your dad doesn’t eat anything except chocolate and vanilla 🙂

  57. Foodycat says:

    The more recipes I see blogged from this book the more I want it! Yum!

  58. Kerstin says:

    The spiral on top is so pretty! I’m sad you can’t share the recipe, because it sounds so tasty and unique.

  59. polwig says:

    This would not only be good for mommy but for the little stinkers too.

  60. grace says:

    i love all fruits. truly, there isn’t one that i’ve tried and not enjoyed. that said, raspberries are a favorite, and i just adore coconut in all forms. what a gorgeous and tasty treat–it should definitely help you retain your title. 🙂

  61. Beautiful dessert! Seasonal fruit is the way to go…this looks like a great book!

  62. Marija says:

    Unusal dessert. I’m bookmarking this to try. Thanks!

  63. Danielle says:

    Oh man…I want to make this!! Such a gorgeous cake! I’m sure you have maintained the “best daughter” title with this one! 🙂

  64. Jenny says:

    That is one tasty looking argument for rice pudding! (Which I like, no one else here does.)

  65. Annfairfax says:

    I know this was posted over 3.5 years ago….but I LOVE rice pudding and this looks so very, very good…..I just bought the book! SOLD! Thanks for your review

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