Many of my dessert recipes were passed on from Ivone, one of my mother's best friends, a real winner when it came to making desserts. Rice pudding was one of her top desserts which is very creamy and custardy. In Portugal we decorated the rice pudding with cinnamon powder with different designs like swirls, grids or hearts and is traditionally served in glazed terracotta bowls. —Maria Teresa Jorge
short grain white rice - not washed nor parboiled
In a large pan add the milk, the cinnamon stick and the lemon peel and bring it to a simmer. Turn off the heat and allow to infuse.
In another pan, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the rice, adjust the heat to a low simmer and let it cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Just before the 15 minutes are up bring the milk to a boil. Watch that it doesn't over flow.
Very quickly strain the rice so it doesn't loose heat and add it to the boiling milk. Let the milk come back to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and allow the rice to cook slowly for another 15 minutes, absorbing well the milk. Stir occasionally to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. After 15 minutes it should be very creamy and the rice very tender.
In a bowl lightly beat the egg yolks with the sugar using a fork. Add a few spoonfuls of the hot rice mixture to warm the egg yolks in the bowl. Then add the warm yolk and sugar mixture to the saucepan and stir continuously with a wooden spoon to allow the egg yolks to cook - do not allow it to boil, just simmer.
Discard the cinnamon stick and lemon peel and pour in individual pots or a serving bowl. Let the rice pudding cool completely and decorate with cinnamon powder, making your own design. You can use a paper doily as a template and sprinkle cinnamon on top to create a design through the holes.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
In Portugal, rice pudding is made just very simple, no vanilla or raisins added. Feel free to add them if you like.