Mushroom Cardamom Rice Pudding with Dulce de Leche Disaster

Vote for me now for Best Canadian Blog or my new blog will be called Memoirs of an Alcoholic: My drunken tweets.

Don’t mean to rant but you’ll soon see why.

Nowww… this is a story all about how, my life got twist, turned upside down. Now I’d like to take a minute just sit right here and tell you how Battle Mushrooms made me pull out my hair.

Mise en Place

I openly confess that I’m not a baker and I leave my desserts to skilled pastry chefs. So for this month’s Beet ‘n Squash YOU! Battle Mushroom with Leela (She Simmers), I challenged myself to create a dessert featuring fungi.

If you followed me on twitter yesterday, you probably laughed along as I broadcasted my disastrous day. You know… one of those days where everything that can possibly go wrong does and leaves one feeling utterly defeated?

A numbered list will illustrate this best.

1. Researched how to make Dulce de Leche.

  • Option 1: From scratch (cooking sugar freaks me out).
  • Option 2: Boil a can of sweetened condensed milk for 3 hours (not enough patience).
  • Option 3: Microwave for 10 minutes, stirring ever 2 minutes (sounds easy!)

2. I poured half a can of sweetened condensed milk into a ramekin and microwaved it for the first 2 minutes.

3. Then this happened.

I clearly didn’t read the entire directions, especially the part about using a BIG bowl because it’ll bubble and expand like mad.

That’s ok! I’ll just run to get another can and try the boil-a-can method!

4. I grabbed a handful of change and ran to the corner store. Nope, no sweetened condensed milk.

That’s ok! I’ll just run to Nester’s!

5. After waiting in line for 10 minutes, I realized I didn’t have enough change for it. $4.99? For serious?

That’s ok! I’ll just run to T&T. Asian supermarkets must have it for less!

6. $2.99! That’s better.

As I was about to pay, the cashier dropped my money and the coins rolled INTO the conveyor belt! She didn’t even let me take the can!

One hour later. I left with no money and no sweetened condensed milk. I huffed and puffed home. Determined not to let this defeat me, I stared at the last remaining 1/2 can in the fridge.

I must turn you into Dulce de Leche, even if it kills me!

7. There was one method I haven’t explored: David Lebovitz’s Bain Marie technique. With a glimmer of hope, I poured the milk into a loaf pan placed in a larger, hot-water filled pan.

I sealed the loaf pan with foil and placed it in the 425° F (220° C) oven for one hour and crossed my toes.

The result? TADA!

Look mom! I’m candy!

8. I placed the dulce in the fridge and proceeded to make the rice pudding.

My idea was to make a creamy, coconut cardamom rice pudding and top it with some burnt cinnamon mushroom and pear. mmm!

I brought the soy milk, sugar, and medium-grain rice to a boil.

I looked away for one second and this happened.

Breathe. I like sticky boil-overs.

9. Determined not to let anything bring me down, I pressed on.

I added a bit more soy milk, slowly brought it up to a boil, turned it down to a simmer and cooked the rice for 15 minutes. Stirring periodically to ensure it doesn’t stick, I added the coconut milk when all the soy has absorbed.

After another 10 minutes, the pudding became luxurious and creamy. I added the freshly ground cardamom, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt.

My kitchen smelled like an Indian dessert house, in which I found temporary comfort. With a tinge of anxiety, I continued to make the mushroom topping.

10. I combined the diced mushrooms, pears, honey, cinnamon and salt in a small saucepan and cooked it on medium until the cinnamon and honey reached a deep caramel and just began to burn, around 10 minutes.

11. That’s when my kitchen caught on fire!!

Just kidding.

Top the warm, velvety rice pudding with the burn cinnamon mushroom and pears and drizzle it with plenty of dulce de leche.

Alternately, hit the mushroom topping with a some spiced rum before removing from the pan. Swirl some dulce de leche into a cocktail glass. Layer the pudding and topping and glaze with even more dulce de leche. Refrigerate and serve cold.


After just one spoonful, I knew it was worth all the trouble.

Monthly Veggie Battle hosted by Leela and me

Have you submitted your recipe yet? Submissions are due on February 5th and the winners will receive Gourmet Wild Mushrooms from Untamed Feast!

Mushroom Cardamom Rice Pudding with Dulce de Leche

Serves 4

Dulce de Leche

  • Half a can of sweetened condensed milk. Use a full can and save the rest for ice cream, oatmeal, pastries, or coffee!

Cardamom Coconut Rice Pudding

  • 1/2 cup medium or short grain rice
  • 1 1/2 cup of soy milk (substitute with milk of choice)
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch of salt

Burnt Cinnamon Mushroom and Pear

  • 4 oz of mild mushrooms, I used 2 King Trumpets
  • 3 oz of pear, I used 1/2 an Anjou
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tbs ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of salt
  1. January 27, 2010 by Ken

    Sorry about your rough day. Your dessert sounds delicious, though, except for the coconut milk. Coconut is evil, you know. :)
    I voted for you, again, for like the sixth time, maybe more. :D

  2. January 27, 2010 by Kathy Gori

    I absolutely HATE anything about cooking sugar and I also use David Leibovitzs’ recipe for dulce de leche. it’s sooooo easy.
    back to the sugar, Paula Wolfert gave me a copper pot that she doesn’t use anymore to use for melting sugar and caramelizing..evidently the secret is in the copper, for even heating ..or something. I still hate heating sugar, I love your mushroom rice pudding thingy and I’ll vote for you, so don’t do anything drastic.

  3. January 27, 2010 by Elizabeth

    Wow Mel, that sounds INTENSE. Good on you for storming through to the end!

    I have to say I was a bit skeptical about mushrooms in there but it actually sounds good and looks DEElicious in the pics.

    Awesome post!

  4. January 27, 2010 by Ginny

    Looks delicious! I make mine in the oven… works the best and less dangerous than the boiling can version…

  5. January 27, 2010 by Fran

    Wow, what a flavor combination. I am going to have to add this to my list to make. I too have an aversion to cooking sugar. I didn’t until a couple of weeks ago when my pot boiled over not once, but twice when making dulce de leche! I’m tempted go run in to the kitchen and try the David Lebovitz method right now, but know that in my exhaustion I would probably screw even the easy method up.

    I’ll file this al away for later though. Thanks for the ideas!

  6. January 27, 2010 by Kevin

    You did it! I love reading your recipes, only hoping that I have the time and patience one day to try a couple of them at home..

    Take comfort in the fact that you offer a hell of a lot more substance with your blog! :)

  7. January 27, 2010 by Candice

    strong work – looks great! Good job pushing through to the end.
    I may have to give this a try..the whole process looks fun. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. January 27, 2010 by Leela@SheSimmers

    Mushroom rice pudding! Awesome indeed. Can’t wait to see how it tastes. I know I’m going to like the texture combination. That’s for sure. I never would have thought to make desserts out of mushrooms.

    Wait, in a moment of despair, I actually thought about jamming mushrooms. Glad it didn’t happen. :)

  9. January 27, 2010 by Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

    Sorry to hear about your rough day. This recipe looks spectacular. I admire your creativity!

  10. January 27, 2010 by wasabi prime

    No kidding — what’s up with the mommy blogger mafia? We gotta start gettin’ together some comment goon squads or somethin’ to make sure hard-earned posts like this get their due?? :P Seriously, great post — the microwave incident sounds exactly like when I tried melting white chocolate chips. Even at a low setting, it was Epic Fail and near Epic Flame, so lesson learned. This dessert looks fab. Great mix of sweet and earthy flavors!

  11. January 28, 2010 by Miriam/The Winter Guest

    I love this type of failure account because they not only give a good laugh… but they always show the most human face of the blogger. They’re good to include in the blog every now and then. And spite of all your mishaps, your dessert looks amazing, I didn’t know about Lebovitz’s method for dulce de leche, but sounds very good.

  12. January 28, 2010 by Chantal

    It is such coincidence I saw your post this morning on foodgawker. I was just thinking last night if I could ever make anything sweet with mushrooms! I can empathize with all the trouble you went through to get this recipe done.. something happens to me every time: exploding glass dishes when making bread – a kitchen covered with a volcano of baking soda water while making pretzels etc… but now I am not reluctant to try this recipe…I think you battled enough trouble for the both of us! Thank you for the sacrifices :P it looks and sounds absolutely delicious!!!

  13. January 28, 2010 by diva

    loved all your tweets yesterday and the many trips to get ingredients. I admire your determination. Oh but this turned out so well. Love the pictures and really wanna taste it actually. I can’t imagine how mushrooms would go with anything sweet but even more so, I bet this is one successful play with ingredients!! :) Battle Mushrooms all the way. xx

  14. January 28, 2010 by BNDQ8

    it sounds and looks super delicious but mushroom??i dont know if i would experiment with mushroom !!i love Dulce de Leche..tried making it at home ..usually doesnt work with me :)

  15. January 28, 2010 by Rachel

    Way to go!

  16. January 28, 2010 by Nicole O.

    I’m glad that you found a way to turn half of a can into dulce de leche! I’ve been trying to make dulce de leche, but only have a half-used can.
    Will try your method now!

    I don’t have a bread pan, so do you think putting an 8×8 inside a 13×9 pan would work all the same?

  17. January 28, 2010 by Fearless Kitchen

    This is an interesting dish. I’ve never seen mushrooms used in a sweet application before… I’ll have to try it sometime! I’m glad that the final product was worth all the unpleasantness to get there :)

  18. January 28, 2010 by admin

    @ Nicole: As long as it fits! 8X8 sounds a bit big for 1/2 a can but trust me, this method is safe. Nothing bad can happen. Set a timer ;)

  19. January 28, 2010 by Carolyn Jung

    If you ever get a chance, try baking with candy cap mushrooms. They are amazing — they have the flavor of intense maple syrup. Chefs use them in desserts all the time. They are pricey, but worth the splurge. They’re very perishable, so they’re mostly sold dried.

  20. January 28, 2010 by Molly Chase

    I think complaining about how many comments your blog gets versus how many comments someone else’s blog gets, irregardless of the subject matter, is incredibly lame.

  21. January 28, 2010 by Rose

    I lost you in my reader with the name change! Hooray! I missed you ;)

    Oh ugh what a day. I hate grocery store run-arounds like that.

    Mommy blogs, you got me laughing. This is food people, a vital requirement for LIFE! Totally more important. You got my vote!

  22. January 28, 2010 by Tangled Noodle

    Hooray for perseverance! So what if you had a helluva clean-up job afterwards – your mushroom rice pudding turned out beautifully. I’m so intrigued by the mushrooms in a sweet dish – wish I could have a taste right now. As for dulce de leche, thanks for the DL method as the only one with which I was familiar was the can-in-the-pan!

  23. January 28, 2010 by Melanie

    I only started reading your blog just right now at this very second and you already have me hooked.

    Go you! This recipe is fierce. :D


  24. January 29, 2010 by Beverly

    that looks just SCRUMPTIOUS! I will confess that I was slightly leery of mushrooms, but I will definitely make this in the future. Also, you have single-handedly saved my kitchen, I have no doubt, by introducing me to David’s dulce de leche method.

  25. January 29, 2010 by Follow Me Foodie

    Omg…you are hilarious!!! I’ve been meaning to comment for so long!

    I feel like I was actually there cooking with you from the way you wrote your story and showed all the stages of cooking.

    btw I’m glad you didn’t burn down the house lol

  26. January 29, 2010 by admin

    @Follow Me Foodie: House burning down is saved for the next post ;) with my luck…

  27. January 29, 2010 by Carol Egbert

    I nervously boiled a can for about 40 minutes and it worked. We were making banoffee pie. Congratulations for living through your day. Mushrooms are a curious additon. Did you like them?

  28. January 30, 2010 by ThermomixBlogger Helene

    Not sure which I admire most… your tenacity or your creativity. Thanks for hanging on and seeing this project through, despite the hurdles. And for documenting it every step of the way! Hooray… I learned something from all the trouble you went through…

  29. February 02, 2010 by Divina

    You’re a brave and courageous woman and I’m proud of you. You only try once in your life so go ahead and try it. But then after your hard work, it’s all worth it.

  30. February 05, 2010 by catty

    hahaha great post and I’m very happy it all came together in the end :) looks delish although I still can’t imagine having mushrooms in a sweet dish BUT.. stranger things have happened :)

  31. February 05, 2010 by Love

    Hey! great post! I’m from Argentina and thought you may like to get a recipe for Dulce de leche.
    Now, it takes two hours to make it but it’s totally worth it.

    you need:
    Milk, 2 l
    Sugar, 500 gr
    Baking soda, 1 teaspoon
    Vanilla beans, 1
    Marble balls, 3 (optional)

    (note: marble balls will help stir the dulce while boiling.. the heat should make them “jump” from the buttom of the saucepan)

    you do:
    1. Put milk, sugar, vanilla bean and marble balls in a saucepan
    2. Cook slowly, stiring frequently to prevent sticking.
    3. Once boiling, add the baking soda. Keep stiring.
    4. You’ll notice it’s ready when it turns brown and thick.
    5. Then, take out the balls and that’s it! Easy, cheap and you can keep it in you’re fridge!
    It should take about two hours.

    If you’d like to get more dulce, you can try using 3 l of milk, 1 kg of sugar and 2 vanilla beans


  32. April 02, 2010 by cakebrain

    I have no fear when it comes to boiling sugar or cans of condensed milk for an obscene amount of time. I do have a fear of introducing mushrooms into my beloved rice pudding though. I know it can’t taste that bad, but it just doesn’t seem right to me! That, and raisins in desserts. yuck. Raisins by themselves are okay, but not mixed into things (I must have been traumatized in my formative years). That being said, you have made it look amazingly appetizing.

  33. May 28, 2010 by Amy Blogs Chow

    I can’t believe you MADE UP that recipe. Who thinks up mushroom-topped rice pudding? INCREDIBLE! I may actually attempt to make your spectacular-looking dessert. And thank you for documenting your mistakes. You saved me (and I’m sure many other readers) from doing the exact same thing.

  34. June 03, 2010 by Sundmania

    Yeah, it’s good, very useful, thanks :)

  35. September 08, 2010 by Mary

    Mmmm, thank you so much! This was lovely. I had an inkling pears and mushrooms mix well, but I hadn’t realised how well!

    I made it a bit differently – no dulce de lece, and no coconut milk, just soy milk – but it was still utterly amazing.

  36. July 12, 2013 by Seolyk

    How many servings does this make?

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