If you love a really creamy rice pudding, this is the recipe for you. I have been testing rice pudding recipes for years and this is the best. I wanted it creamy and tasty but not super high in calories. One of the secrets is the use of Arborio rice. It is a short-grained rice that can absorb a lot of liquid. It gives a soft texture to the pudding. Another secret to keeping calories down is the use of Splenda, low fat milk and low fat whipped topping. I resisted using whipped topping as an ingredient, but found that a small amount really did make the final product better. The flavor is wonderful with a touch of brandy, allspice, and cinnamon.

3/4 cup Arborio rice

1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 1/2 cups 2 percent low-fat milk*,warmed

1/3 cup Splenda or sugar

1/2 cup golden raisins

2 tablespoons brandy

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, optional

1/2 cup low fat whipped topping

In a large heavy saucepan, combine rice, water, salt, and butter. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover pan, and boil gently for 10 minutes. Combine warm milk and Splenda. Pour into rice. Cover pan and continue to boil gently for 20 - 30 minutes or until rice is very tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. (Some liquid will be absorbed as rice cools.)

While rice is cooking, combine raisins, brandy, and brown sugar in a custard cup. Warm in the microwave and set aside. After rice is done cooking, add raisin mixture, vanilla, allspice, and cinnamon. Cool to room temperature. Fold in whipped topping. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Note: The rice and milk mixture can easily boil over and make a mess on your stove. If you want to save yourself a lot of trouble, be sure to use a large saucepan. When I used only a 1-1/2 quart pan, it boiled over twice before I was smart enough to put it in a larger 3 quart pan.

*The recipe will work with any milk, including fat-free milk, but it is slightly better with 2 percent or whole milk.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information per serving:

Calories 175

Fat, gm. 5

Protein, gm. 4

Carbs, gm. 28

Cholesterol, mg. 15