In a large 3-quart saucepan, heat the milk and heavy whipping cream, vanilla bean pod and all the internal grain, over medium heat and bring to a small boil. Stir in the rice, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Stir occasionally and leave uncovered. Pick up the bean pod, scrape it over the milk with the back of a knife to remove the last vanilla grains and natural oils from the bean. Discard after all the natural juices are added to the milk.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, cornstarch, salt, and sugar until smooth. Add a ¼ cup of the hot rice milk to the egg mixture bowl slowly stirring. Whisk the rice mixture while you slowly pour in the tempered egg mixture, and then simmer, stirring constantly, until the pudding is slightly thickened. Add ½ cup chopped dates.
Serve the pudding warm in small individual bowls topped the chopped dates or serve chilled. To chill it, place waxed paper or plastic wrap directly against the surface of the warm pudding to prevent the formation of the top skin.