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Put the saffron strands in a small bowl and cover with 2-3 tbsp warm water. Gently push the strands against the side of the bowl with the back of a teaspoon – this will help release the flavour and colour. Set aside to soak until needed.
Pour the milk into a large, heavy-based pan set over a medium heat and tip in the cardamom pods. Bring to the boil, then scatter in the rice and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 40 mins, stirring often to prevent the rice scorching on the base of the pan, until the rice has broken down and is very soft.
Stir in the sugar and continue to cook until it has dissolved. Scoop out the cardamom pods using a slotted spoon and discard these.
Stir in the cream, then slowly add the rosewater and enough of the saffron and its soaking liquid to just lightly flavour the kheer. Stir in the almonds. Drain the raisins and stir these in, then serve hot or leave to cool completely and chill first.
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