Coconut Rice Pudding

I saw a recipe for something like this somewhere and thought it sounded like a good idea. I also had a Tupperware of leftover coconut milk in the fridge that needed to be used post haste, before it turned into a mycology experiment. This is just a tweaked version of my favorite baked rice pudding recipe.

Note: This makes a solid, cake-like, pudding, not a "pudding-y" pudding. It's not wrong; it's intentional. Just giving you a heads-up.

1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup milk (skim is fine)
dash salt
1 1/2 cup cooked rice (I used regular long-grain white, but I think basmati would be awesome)
1/4 cup sugar (or a little more. I think I'd like this just a little sweeter for a dessert)
1 egg
2 egg whites or 1/4 cup egg white from a carton
1/4 cup finely-shredded, unsweetened, coconut (or sweetened, but reduce sugar a little to compensate), plus extra for garnish
optional: 1/4-1/3 cup chopped fruit or nuts. I used canned pineapple chunks, cut into very small pieces (1/8 of a chunk), but I bet a more exotic tropical fruit like passionfruit would be great. Alternatively, I'd like to try this with chopped macadamia nuts or pistachios instead of fruit.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Beat eggs. Combine everything. Bake 25 minutes, stir and garnish with reserved coconut, then bake another 20 minutes or so, or until firmly set. The coconut garnish will toast, which looks nice.

This makes a rather small pudding--I baked mine in a Macy's Fiesta 32-ounce pasta bowl--so it could easily be doubled and baked in a regular-sized casserole dish. You might have to bake it a little longer.

Note: To make this non-tropical, use a full cup of regular milk, omit all coconut, add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and a dash of nutmeg, and use two whole eggs (egg whites will work but having the yolks gives it a nice yellow color and buttery flavor). I stick to 1/4 cup sugar for the domestic version because it makes as good a breakfast as it does a dessert, and I don't like super-sweet stuff in the morning. Adding raisins is traditional but I kind of like chopped dates better.