How to make Eight Treasure Pudding
- Preheat oven to 350 ˚F.
- Lightly oil 8 custard cups (6-8 oz) and set aside for later.
- Rinse rice in a large sieve with cold water until it runs clear, and drains completely.
- Combine rice, oil, and 2 cups cold water into a 9 in round, 2-inch deep, cake pan.
- Pour ½ in of water into a 12 in wide deep skillet or pot.
- Place a metal rack – or some metal cookie cutters – in the bottom of the pot, and set the cake pan with rice on the rack and bring water to a boil.
- Cover the pot and let it steam on high heat.
- Check water level occasionally and add more as necessary until rice is cooked. This typically takes about 40 minutes.
- Remove pan carefully and let cool.
- Bring remaining 1 ½ cups of water, rock sugar, prunes, cherries, jujubes, apricots, and orange peel to a boil in a saucepan.
- Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer until the fruit is soft and the liquid has been reduced to about ¾ of a cup.
Note: This should take about 45 minutes.
- Stir in walnuts, and let simmer for 1 minute.
- Drain immediately in a mesh sieve over a container, reserving the syrup and fruit in separate dishes.
- Remove walnuts from fruit and set aside.
- Place 1 walnut half in the bottom of each custard cup.
- Pour 2 tbsp mixed fruit in each cup, spreading evenly over the bottom.
- Drizzle 1 tsp of the fruit syrup you reserved over the fruit in each cup.
- Press 1/3 cup of sticky rice on top of each cup with damp fingertips.
- Make an indentation in the rice with either your finger or the back of a small spoon, and fill each indentation with 1 tsp red beans, leaving at least a ½ inch border of rice around it.
- Drizzle 1 tsp fruit syrup over each cup, and cover with 2 tbsp rice.
- Dip your measuring spoon in water to prevent the rice from sticking.
- Use a small piece of plastic wrap to press rice until the surface is flat. Discard plastic when done.
- Arrange custard cups in a 17 x 12 x 2 1/2-inch roasting pan.
- Oil a large sheet of heavy duty foil, cover the pan with the oiled side down and make a tight seal.
- Bake in a water bath for 1 hour.
- Let stand 5 minutes while still covered.
- Use a knife to loosen the rice around the edges of each cup, then invert them into a dish.
- Drizzle with the remaining fruit syrup and serve.
This tasty treat is worth the time and effort it takes to make. And if you’re lucky, you might just have enough left over to take to work tomorrow in your Vaya Tyffyn lunch box!
There are a number of interesting legends behind the creation of this traditional Chinese dessert, named after the eight types of dried fruit and nuts that give it both its unique flavor and name. One legend states that the eight fruits stand for eight warriors that helped save China from the despotic ruler, Zhou, in 1600 BC.