Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in first 2 ingredients, and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes; drain.
Return rice to saucepan; stir in milk and next 4 ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes or until thick. Remove vanilla bean. Remove from heat, and transfer to a glass bowl. Let stand 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Cover and chill 8 hours.
Spoon into serving dishes; top each with figs and a drizzle of saba.
Pantry Key. Saba: An ancient sweetener traditionally made from grape juice.
Note: We tested with Carolina Plantation Rice (carolinaplantationrice.com) and Zingerman's Saba Balsamic Syrup (zingermans.com).
FIG, Charleston, SC