RICE PUDDING

I recall reading an article in the Food section a couple of years ago that included a recipe for the ultimate in comfort food, rice pudding. Could you please send it to me? Thank you.

Barbara Black

Washington

The article reported on a comparison of several different rice pudding recipes that were tested in a home kitchen by food reporter Carole Sugarman. The winner? A recipe from Cook's Illustrated magazine. Do you have a recipe request? Let us know. (See address and e-mail information below.)

Cook's Illustrated Simple Stove-Top Rice Pudding

(12 servings)

2 cups water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup medium- or long-grain rice

2 1/2 cups whole milk

2 1/2 cups half-and-half

2/3 cup sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, bring the water to a boil. Stir in the salt and rice, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir in the milk, half-and-half and sugar, increase the heat to medium-high and bring the pudding to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, until the mixture starts to thicken, about 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, for about 15 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the vanilla extract. Set aside to cool. Serve at room temperature or chilled. (May cover with plastic wrap that touches the surface of the pudding and refrigerate up to 2 days.)

Per serving: 199 calories, 4 gm protein, 29 gm carbohydrates, 8 gm fat, 26 mg cholesterol, 5 gm saturated fat, 91 mg sodium

HASTY PUDDING

Do you have any recipes for hasty pudding? I'm curious to find out exactly what it is, and I would very much like to try a recipe.

Pauline Zehring

Alexandria

Hasty pudding was a colonial staple; it consists of a simple cornmeal mush made with water or milk and sweetened with molasses, honey or maple syrup. It was generally served with milk or cream for breakfast and/or dessert.

Hasty Pudding

(6 servings)

This recipe was adapted from "The New York Times Cook Book" by Craig Claiborne (Harper & Row, 1990). Claiborne suggests serving it warm with plenty of cream, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

4 cups milk

1/2 cup cornmeal

3 tablespoons butter, plus additional for the baking dish

1/2 cup molasses

Pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.

In a saucepan, bring 1 1/3 cups of the milk to a boil. Gradually add the cornmeal, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Stir in the butter, molasses, salt and nutmeg. Add the remaining 2 2/3 cups of the milk and mix well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Cover and bake in the preheated oven for 3 to 3 1/4 hours. Serve warm.

Per serving: calories, gm protein, gm carbohydrates, gm fat, mg cholesterol, gm saturated fat, mg sodium, gm dietary fiber

Send your recipe question (or your answer to a reader's question) to: Prince George's Food, The Washington Post, 14402 Old Mill Rd., Suite 201, Upper Marlboro, Md. 20772. Or e-mail it to food@washpost.com