<a href="http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo-sos7-2009oct07,0,6207472.story" target="_blank"><span style="color:#2262CC">Chilled banana and pistachio rice pudding</span></a.

  (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Dear SOS: My trips to Santa Barbara are not complete unless I have the rice pudding with bananas and pistachios from Pierre Lafond. I would love the recipe. Hope you can help. Thanks.

Irene P. Ayala

Los Angeles

Dear Irene: Because it's served chilled, this is one variation rice pudding fans can keep squirreled away in the fridge, ready to dish up whenever the craving strikes. Scented with cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg and flavored with chopped pistachios and diced fresh bananas, it's a fun take on a classic dish.

Chilled banana and pistachio rice pudding



Total time: 30 minutes, plus cooling time

Servings: 4 to 6

Note: Adapted from Wine Bistro Pierre Lafond

1/2 tablespoon butter

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained

2 cups milk

1 cup cream

1/4 cup pistachios, shelled and chopped, plus extra for garnish, if desired

1 banana

1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Stir in the cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

2. Stir in the rice, milk and cream. Bring the mixture to a simmer over high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook the rice, uncovered, until very tender, stirring occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Remove from the heat and set the pan aside, uncovered, until the rice cools to room temperature, about 30 minutes to 1 hour. (The pudding will be very soupy at first, but will thicken as the rice continues to absorb the liquid as it cools in the pan.) When the rice is almost cooled, peel and dice the banana.

4. Stir in the pistachios and banana, then cover and refrigerate the pudding until well chilled. Garnish with extra pistachios if desired. This makes about 3 cups rice pudding.

Each of 6 servings: 345 calories; 6 grams protein; 35 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 21 grams fat; 12 grams saturated fat; 65 mg. cholesterol; 49 mg. sodium.