My chef son Michael introduced me to Kheer a fragrant rice pudding thickened by reduction and requires no eggs. It requires patience and stirring but it is worth every stir. Each bite gets more and more addicting it has layers of wonderful flavors, including saffron and cardamom. There is nothing plain about this rice pudding. My Uncle George flips over this dessert.

2/3 cup rice
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups whole milk (a quart)
3 cups of half and half
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon of saffron soaked in 1 tablespoon warm milk (optional)
2 tablespoons golden raisins
4 tablespoons of pistachios +/or almonds chopped (reserve 2 tablespoons for topping)
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Pinch of grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Ground cinnamon

1. In a large pot parboil the rice in water and salt for 6 minutes. Add just the milk and bring to a boil over a medium heat stirring frequently, paying close attention not to burn the bottom. Reduce to a low heat and cover and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Increase to a medium heat and gradually stir in the half and half. Simmer for 35 minutes stirring occasionally.
3. Stir in the sugar and saffron stirring steadily until the mixture reaches a thick custard that drops slowly from the spoon approximately 30 minutes. The rice should melt in your mouth.
4. Add the 2 tablespoons of nuts, cardamom, nutmeg and vanilla and stir.
5. Top with reserved nuts and dash of cinnamon.

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