Preparation / Directions:
In a heavy saucepan, place the milk over medium high heat, and bring to a boil. Sprinkle the rice into the boiling milk, stirring constantly for several minutes to keep the rice from settling on the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the rice at a gentle boil until the milk is reduced by half and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes, stirring often to prevent a skin from forming on the surface of the milk.
Stir the carrots into the milk-rice mixture and continue cooking until the carrots are tender and the mixture is reduced to a thick sauce, about 15 minutes; stir frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom.
Stir the sugar, about two-thirds of the almonds or pistachios, and the cardamom into the pudding and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to stick to the pan bottom, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, spoon into a bowl, and let cool to room temperature.
Stir 1/4 cup of the cream or coconut milk and the rosewater into the pudding. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and chill for at least 3 hours.
Shortly before serving, remove from the refrigerator and check consistency; it should be a bit thinner than traditional rice pudding. If it seems too thick, stir in a little more cream or coconut milk. Spoon into individual bowls and sprinkle with the remaining almonds or pistachios and the silver and/or gold leaf (if used).