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(Makes 6 servings)

Almonds – 6 whole, toasted

Rice – 2 cups, cooked (warm or cold)

Milk – 2 1/2 cups, whole

Vanilla – 1 whole bean (or 2 teaspoons extract)

Sugar – 1/2 cup

Salt – 1/8 teaspoon

Lemon Zest- 1 whole, finely grated

Egg – 1 large, lightly beaten

Butter – 1 1/2 teaspoons, unsalted

Cinnamon – 1 teaspoon, ground

  • Place a toasted almond in each of six ramekins or pudding bowls and set aside.
  • Place the cooked rice in a large bowl and rinse with cold water. Pour the rice into a strainer and drain well. Set aside.
  • Pour the whole milk into a saucepan. Split the surface of the vanilla bean lengthwise down the center with the tip of a paring knife. Push the side of the knife down the center of the bean to open it up, loosening the tiny seeds of the pod. Put the whole pod with the seeds into the milk. (If using vanilla extract, do not add it yet.)
  • Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the sugar, salt and lemon zest. Ladle about 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture very slowly into the beaten egg while whisking gently. (This technique tempers the liquid so that the egg won’t scramble.) Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan, stirring to combine with the remaining hot milk. Add the cooked rice and raise the heat to medium-high. Stir constantly over low heat until the mixture begins to thicken, about 10 minutes. Stir in the unsalted butter and vanilla extract, if using instead of vanilla bean. Immediately spoon the pudding into the ramekins or bowls. Sprinkle lightly with ground cinnamon. Serve warm or chilled.

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