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Eight Precious Pudding

Date Sauce
8 oz Pitted dates; to yield 1 1/3 c Snipped
3/4 c Water
1/2 ts Vanilla extract


Cooked Rice
3 c Water
1 1/2 c Short-grain rice
1 ts Salt
1 ts Vanilla extract
1/4 c Sugar
2 tb Butter or margarine; cut up


Fruit
1/2 c Candied fruit and peels; or fruit cake mix, can be halved
1/2 oz Blanched almonds; OR 12-whole


Almond Glaze
1/2 c Sugar
1 tb Corn
1 c Cold water
1 tb Butter or margarine
Almond extract; to taste


In a small saucepan, combine dates and 3/4-cup water; bring to boiling. cook, stirring constantly, till water is absorbed. Stir in the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; set aside to cool.


In another sauce pan, combine the 3 cups water, rice, salt and the 1 teaspoon vanilla. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. cook, covered, for 15 minutes or till water is absorbed. Stir in the sugar and butter or margarine.


Decoratively arrange the mixed fruit and/or peels in bottom of a buttered 1+1/2-quart casserole or heat-proof bowl. Make sure you use a bowl that will fit inside your steamer and that is 1 inch smaller than the rack. Arrange the almonds in ring around fruit.


Carefully spoon half of the cooked rice into the mold being careful not to disturb the design of the nuts and fruit. Pat rice up around sides to form a shell.


Mix remaining rice with the chopped date mixture. Spoon into rice shell; pat surface (top) even. Cover casserole tightly with foil.


In a steamer (see tip), bring water for steaming to boiling over high heat. Place the pudding bowl on steamer rack; cover and steam 45 to 60 minutes. Replace water if needed. Carefully unmold hot pudding. Serve pudding warm with almond glaze.


Serves 12 with one almond per serving.

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