This is the best homemade creamy rice pudding. I grew up eating baked rice pudding, but creamy rice pudding was my favorite. I got this recipe when I was first married and it has become a family favorite - one that I make over and over and over.
Bring water and rice to a boil and cook until almost all of water has been absorbed.
Stir in cornstarch and salt.
Add half and half and bring to a boil, cooking over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute.
Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. While butter is melting, mix together egg yolks and sugar in a 2 cup measuring cup.
Add hot rice mixture a little at a time to the egg yolk sugar mixture, stirring after each addition. I add about 1 cup of the hot rice mixture to bring the temperature of the egg/sugar mixture up so that the eggs don't scramble when you add it back into the pot of rice. This step is called tempering the eggs.
Pour the egg/sugar/rice mixture from the measuring cup back into the pot and stir. Cook over medium high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil one minute.
Remove from heat and pour rice pudding into a bowl to cool. Serve warm or refrigerate.