In a large pot over medium heat, bring the milk, vanilla bean and seeds to a boil. Add the rice and simmer over low heat, stirring often, for 25 minutes or until the rice is very tender. Add the sugar and cook 1 minute.
Transfer to a glass bowl. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the rice. Let cool, then refrigerate until completely chilled, about 2 hours.
Candied Crispy Rice
With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
In a pot over medium-high heat, cook the sugar and water, without stirring, until golden. Remove from the heat and immediately add the rice cereal, stirring with a spatula to coat with the caramel. Spread the mixture out on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 5 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. On a work surface, break the caramelized rice up into pieces. The caramelized rice will keep in an airtight container for 2 weeks at room temperature.
Remove the vanilla bean from the rice pudding. Serve the rice in bowls garnished with the apples, dates and caramelized rice.
Recipes with the "Healthy Pick" stamp have been evaluated by a registered dietitian member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec.