Add two cups of basmati or other long-grain rice, slowly, so the water doesn't stop boiling. Cook for about eight to ten minutes, stirring from time to time to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom, until the rice is just barely done.
Pour everything into a strainer or colander and let the rice drain. Leave the spices in the rice.
While the rice is boiling, chop the dried fruit. Throw the fruit on top of the rice draining in the colander.
Thinly slice one-half of a large onion and sauté it until golden in 5T of unsalted butter with several pinches of saffron or one teaspoon of turmeric.
While onions are cooking, grease a round casserole with a bit of butter and turn the spiced rice and fruit into a large bowl.
Turn the golden onions into the bowl and mix everything up.
Spoon the mixture into the casserole and pat the rice firmly in place with the back of a spoon.
Drizzle 3 Tbsp of melted butter over the top and cover with two thicknesses of aluminum foil and seal the edges well. Add a lid if your casserole has one. Set the casserole in a preheated 350°F oven and let it bake for an hour.
Then remove it from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes or so before removing the foil and unmolding it onto a platter. (Lay the platter on top of the rice and, using a thick dishcloth or potholders, flip the thing over).