If you are looking for something different for a fruit salad, this is it. It's almost a dessert. But it's funky. You are probably thinking, "Rice? And fruit?" but give it a shot. You will probably be the only person at the potluck with this baby in tow. And people will look at you weird. And some will be polite enough to try it. And they'll be all, "Whoa. This is actually good. Dude, try this!" And you'll be all, "I'm a genius."
The recipe makes a lot. Probably ... 7(+) cups? Great for get-togethers. It's best the day of: it looses the creaminess after 24 hours. The rice soaks up the cream but the flavor will still be there, so it's not the end of the world if you have leftovers!
Toasting the coconut is not really necessary because it doesn't stay crunchy in the salad, but I prefer the flavor of toasted to raw. If you want to toast it too, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spread the coconut out evenly. Toast for 7-10 minutes, stirring every two minutes after the first 5. Mine was ready after about 9 minutes. This is what it should look like:
A nice golden brown. I used sweetened shredded coconut because that is all they offer in the stores here. It's my understanding that if you use unsweetened, it may take a little longer to brown. The sugar in the sweetened coconut causes it to brown faster. Make sure it's cooled completely before adding it to the salad.
FRUIT AND RICE SALAD
adapted from Fruit Rice Salad on Allrecipes.com
1 cup uncooked white rice
20 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained well
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
1 cup chopped fresh peaches (about 2 peaches)
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup shredded or flaked coconut (toasted, if desired)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sliced almonds (plus more for garnish, if desired)
In a small saucepan, combine rice, 1 1/2 cups water, and a dash of salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Allow to cool, then chill in the refrigerator.
In a large bowl, beat whipping cream, sugar, vanilla, almond extract, and a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Fold in chilled rice, pineapple, strawberries, peaches, blueberries, coconut, and sliced almonds until well blended. Sprinkle with sliced almonds for garnish, if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.