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COMFORT FOOD : Forget frivolous fare. Ignore the exotic. In times of trouble we turn to the familar and seek the solace of home. : Foods that reassure: Big breakfasts. Warm doughnuts. A simple steak. Beef stew. And ambrosia. : A Few of Our Favorite Things : . . . A Sprinkling of Cinnamon

January 24, 1991|ROSE DOSTI

Rice pudding was my comfort food as a child.

The way my mother saw it, if you had a cold you got rice pudding. And I loved my mother's rice pudding.

It was a rather creamy type, not too firm. And it did wonders for body and soul. The scent of sugary rice cooking on the stove for long hours would always signal imminent, supreme comfort. My mother poured the finished rice pudding on a large serving platter, creating a shallow sea of nubby kernels topped with a crisscross pattern of cinnamon spread by pinching the grains between her forefinger and thumb. Very expert, I thought. Pinching the cinnamon between fingers was a trick I picked up and now use on my own (less spectacular) rice pudding.

MOTHER'S RICE

PUDDING

1 quart half and half

2 cups milk

1 cup short-grain rice (Carolina)

3/4 cup sugar

Dash salt

2 egg yolks

Ground cinnamon

Combine half and half and milk with rice in saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer over very low heat 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally until rice is tender and mixture is slightly thickened.

Add sugar and salt. Cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Beat egg yolks with small amount of rice liquid. Return to pot and cook, stirring, 5 minutes.

Pour into serving dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon to form any design such as leaf or crisscross. Cool, then chill. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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