In a medium saucepan, combine rice and milk. Cook over medium heat 45 minutes or until rice is tender; set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, whip cream until stiff; stir in vanilla. Stir whipped cream, sugar and chopped almonds into cooled rice mixture. Spoon into a serving dish. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.
To make sauce: Heat cherries with juice. Dissolve cornstarch in a little water. Stir into cherries; gently stir over medium heat until thickened. Flavor with liquer, if desired. Serve rice pudding with hot cherry sauce.
Interesting note: It was once traditional in Denmark to include 1 whole almond in the rice pudding. The person who found it would receive the prize-a marzipan pig.