Best Rice Pudding

The Best Rice Pudding (adapted slightly from The English Kitchen)

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 strip of lemon peel, without pith (or a tsp of lemon zest)
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup sugar
2 ounces flaked almonds, toasted and crushed with your fingers

Combine the milk, cream, vanilla bean and it's seeds (or vanilla), cinnamon stick, nutmeg and lemon zest in a large saucepan. Bring almost to a boil, then add the rice. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. (If you don't, it will burn to the bottom!) Add the sugar and stir in until dissolved. Simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring often, until the rice is completely softened, tender and creamy. Remove from the heat. Take out the cinnamon stick, vanilla bean and the lemon peel. Stir in the almonds. (or sprinkle them on top!) Marie serves this with a gorgeous looking cherry sauce spooned on top. Serve immediately.