By Amy Jacobs
Growing up as one of three daughters of a home economics teacher, dinners were always organized and planned. Dessert was my elder sister’s specialty, mine the main course and the youngest, well, she made the Chex Mix.
I don’t do dessert. I’ll think nothing of burning through the daylight hours planning something for dinner but curse dessert if takes more than 15 minutes. So when a recipe this simple comes along with ingredients that don’t require leavening agents or a mixer, I see it as my opportunity to be the dessert hero, the superwoman of sweetness that has eluded me growing up.
This super-simple recipe uses couscous as its base. Steeped in milk and honey, its fine grains are transformed into a rice-pudding-like texture, studded with dates and topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon and crunchy pistachios.
Honeyed Couscous Pudding
3 cups lowfat milk
1/4 cup honey
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 cup plain or whole wheat couscous
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pitted dates *
Ground cinnamon for dusting pudding
2 tablespoons chopped skinned pistachios
Heat milk, honey, cinnamon stick and orange zest in a saucepan over medium-high heat until nearly simmering. Stir in couscous and vanilla, remove from the heat and cover. Let stand until most of the milk has been absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick.
Stir dates into the couscous. To serve, spoon into bowls and sprinkle with ground cinnamon and pistachios.
* If using dried dates, put them in a small bowl. Add boiling water to cover. Cover the bowl and set aside about 15 minutes to rehydrate; drain water before using.
Recipe adapted from the Western Pistachio Association
Amy Jacobs’ passion for cooking was sparked as a small child, eye-level to the countertop, watching her mother and grandmother work magic with a roast. Today, she is head chef of her own home restaurant with her husband Brian and her three boys, James, Robbie and Gus, occupying the chef’s table nightly. Amy is the co-founder, with Brian, of Brick Design a multi-disciplinary design firm specializing in branding and interactive design, and the design firm for Special Fork.
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