In a medium size pot over low heat, combine the milk, cream, and vanilla extract. Keep warmed but not so hot that the mixture develops a skin.
In another medium to large size pot, melt the butter over low heat. Add the rice and stir in with the butter until the rice begins to turn translucent. Then slowly begin adding the milk mixture to the rice pot, stirring as you cook to incorporate the liquid and cook the rice. Once most of the liquid has absorbed, add more milk to the pot. It should take you about 30 minutes to add all the liquid and for the rice to be nearly cooked through (test by eating a piece and checking for doneness). This is basically the same method as making risotto, another favorite dish of mine.
Wait, do I just really love rice? Or maybe I just really love carbs.
Then stir the pumpkin, spices, sugar, and maple syrup in with the rice pudding. Cook until everything is warmed through and well mixed together.
Although this rice pudding recipe isn’t overly sweet, I would still consider this more of a sweet snack or dessert option since it’s quite rich from all the cream. If you are serving it as dessert, I highly recommend topping it with whipped cream. It begins to taste just like pumpkin pie to me at that point since I always top pumpkin pie with whipped cream.
I like this recipe warm, as it just feels right for the season. But cold rice pudding is excellent as well. You can store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, probably longer, but mine never lasts that long.