Rinse the rice. Pour three-quarters of the milk into a heavy saucepan, bring to the boil, and stir in the rice. Cover, and simmer on the lowest possible heat until the rice is tender and the milk absorbed. Add more milk if necessary and do not let the rice catch. It should be very soft. Stir in most of the sugar, keeping back a teaspoon or so.
Pound the mastic with the remaining sugar until you have a fine powder. Slake the cornflour in a tablespoon of milk, and stir it into the rice. Simmer it for a few minutes more to cook the cornflour.
Beat the egg and cream, and mix a little of the rice mixture into it; stir this back into the pudding, away from the heat. Stir the pulverized mastic into the pudding until well mixed, and then spoon the pudding into small dishes for serving.
Chill until required. The top of the pudding is traditionally browned under the grill. I also like to sprinkle on top some pistachios, ground in a mortar with a little cinnamon and sugar. Mastic, the resin of a shrub, can be bought in Middle Eastern and Turkish food shops.
© 2000 Frances Bissell. All rights reserved.