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Published: Tuesday, 5/8/2007

Creamy Rice Pudding

6 whole almonds, toasted

2 cups cooked rice (warm or cold)

2 cups whole milk

1 whole vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

cup sugar

18teaspoon salt

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Place a toasted almond in each of the ramekins or pudding bowls and set aside. Place rice in a large bowl and rinse with cool water. Pour rice into a strainer and drain well. Set aside.

Pour milk into a large saucepan. Split surface of vanilla bean lengthwise down the center with tip of a paring knife. Push side of knife down the center of bean to open it up, loosening tiny seeds of the pod. Put whole pod with the seeds into the milk. (If using vanilla extract, don t add it yet.) Place saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low and whisk in sugar, salt, and lemon zest. Ladle about cup of hot milk mixture very slowly into beaten egg while whisking gently. (This technique tempers liquid so that the egg won t scramble.) Pour egg mixture into saucepan, stirring to combine with remaining hot milk. Add rice and raise heat to medium-high. Stir constantly over low heat until mixture begins to thicken, about 10 minutes. Stir in butter and vanilla extract, if using. Immediately spoon pudding into ramekins or bowls. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Serve warm or chilled.

Yield: 6 servings

Source: Cooking from the Hip by Cat Cora

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