For some, rice pudding is the ultimate comfort food that conjures up fond memories of childhood. Here we've updated the classic recipe - the result is a rich, vanilla-scented version, studded with plump raisins. Delicious for kids and grownups alike!
Place the rice in a large saucepan and add enough boiling water to cover the rice. Steep for 3 minutes, then drain. Return the drained rice to the saucepan and add the milk, vanilla bean, sugar, and raisins. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat (adjust heat to maintain a slow simmer) for 30 minutes.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9-inch square baking pan or similar-size gratin dish and set aside.
Remove the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the rice mixture. Rinse and dry the vanilla pod, and reserve it for another use. Add the heavy cream and stir to combine.
Transfer the pudding to the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with freshly grated nutmeg. Bake until the rice is tender, the liquid has been absorbed, and the top has turned golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Serve warm or cold.