Place the rice in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear. Drain well.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic; stir and cook until sizzling and golden, about 1 minute. Add the drained rice; stir to coat in the butter and garlic. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and a generous grinding of black pepper.
Add 3 cups water and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low so the liquid is just simmering. Cover and cook for 18 minutes. Let the rice rest off the heat for 5 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf and fluff the rice with a fork. Add the lime zest and juice, the cilantro and the scallions, and toss together. Top with the pepitas and serve.