Cook rice in 3 cups water until tender...about 20 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
In a 3 quart pot, add 3 1/2 cups milk. Dissolve the cornstarch in remaining 1/2 cup milk and add to pot. Add sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thickened. Add rice. Whisk 4 egg yolks and temper with some of the cooked milk mixture. Add eggs to pot and cook for about 2 minutes more. Add vanilla. Pour into 2 quart casserole dish.
Beat 4 egg whites until stiff. Beat in remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Spread over top of hot pudding, sealing the edges. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 5-10 minutes until egg whites are nicely browned.