Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding

1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup basmati rice
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
*Add 2 tsp of Apple Pie Spice for a different and delicious twist!

Bring 1 1/2 cups water, rice, and salt to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover. Simmer until water is absorbed, about 10 minutes.

Add milk, cream, and sugar. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Increase heat to medium; cook uncovered until rice is tender and mixture thickens slightly to a soft, creamy texture, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes.

Remove pudding from heat and discard vanilla bean. Divide pudding evenly among small bowls. Serve warm, or press plastic wrap directly onto surface of each pudding and chill thoroughly.

DO AHEAD: Pudding can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.