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Vanilla Bean and Saffron Pearl Couscous Pudding + Honey-Roasted Cardamom Pistachios


That's a mouthful to say and eat, right? This was one of those recipes that got me good; I had a hunch that it would be great, but not the kind of great that would result in eating all four servings in 36 hours, give or take a few (it's definitely take, btw). It's the kind of great that captivates: you find yourself daydreaming during meetings, distracted by its lure while your kid is trying to tell you about their day, and unable to walk past the fridge without grabbing a spoon, scooping up an egregious amount, crumbling a few pistachios on top of the dainty mountain, and savoring every moment from the creamy tip of your tongue to the lingering toothsome texture when it's gone. Of course, quickly followed by the rationale that it was only a spoonful- until four servings were long gone.


Without hyperbole, this is one of my favorite recipes. Wooed by the flavors of rich vanilla bean, warm saffron, sweet cardamom, and earthy pistachio, the dish casts its spell in texture: crunchy nuts, the snap of burnt honey, the viscosity of thick, luscious cream, and the mouthfeel of the pearl couscous that at first may surprise you, but ultimately leaves you thinking, "ah, that makes perfect sense."

 

In a medium saucepan

1/2 cup (81g) pearl couscous

1 cup (227g) heavy cream

1/2 cup (99g) granulated sugar

2 cups (454g) whole milk

1 vanilla bean, sliced down the middle

Good pinch of saffron threads

Pinch of salt




Hanging out on the sidelines

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon butter


 

1

In a medium saucepan, stir together all the ingredients except the vanilla extract.


2

Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer while stirring often until most of the liquids are absorbed by the couscous- about 35 minutes.


3

Remove the saucepan from the heat, remove the vanilla bean, and stir in the vanilla extract. The pudding will thicken and set as it cools down. You can either eat the pudding warm or move it to a storage container and let it thoroughly chill in the fridge-it will last 4-5 days in the refrigerator.


4

When ready to serve, top with the honey pistachios.



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