Rice pudding is a favorite of mine -- and most everybody else.
I've spent years tinkering with recipes, trying to produce one that could compete with the rice pudding my dad used to bring home from the local deli. I've tried different techniques and combinations of ingredients. Early on, I jettisoned the over-the-top richness of heavy cream, but I wanted to retain a creaminess and thick consistency. I needed the right rice.
The answer turned out to be a fusion of Japanese, Italian and French cooking traditions. Once I hit upon using short-grain sushi rice, I had the recipe. I cook the rice in milk sweetened with sugar and flavored with a vanilla bean, stirring as I would when making risotto. At the end, I thicken the pudding using an old French method: an egg yolk tempered with hot milk. The result is not only light but better-tasting than I'd hoped.