Rinse rice with cold water. Drain. In a pot, combine rice and water to cover. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, crush cardamom pods in a mortar and pestle. After rice has cooked about 10 minutes, add cardamom, a pinch of salt, cream, sugar, butter, cinnamon and saffron. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Mix raisins and pistachios and divide pudding among 4 cups. Strain rice through a sieve and sweeten pudding with sugar. Set about 5-6 tablespoons pudding aside. Divide remaining pudding among cups and let cool. Transfer the reserved pudding to a pastry bag with small, plain tip and decorate tops of puddings.