Cherry Saucewarm, for serving (click the link for the cherry sauce recipe)
Sprigs of fresh mint for garnishoptional
Bring the rice, salt, lemon zest, sugar and water to a boil in a medium-sized stock pot. Boil for 3 minutes, add the milk and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally, increasing the frequency during the last 10 minutes to prevent scorching. Stir in the chopped blanched almonds.
Let the rice cool and then chill for several hours or overnight.
Beat the cream until it starts to thicken. Add the sugar, vanilla bean paste and almond extract and beat until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over-beat. Stir the cream mixture into the rice pudding.(Note: The rice will may be very stiff. Stir it to loosen it up and then stir it more after the cream has been added to break up any clumps.)
Serve the Risalamande at room temperature with the warm cherry sauce.
You can make the Risalamande a day ahead, then pull it out of the fridge to warm it up to room temperature and serve it with warm cherry sauce.