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Marina’s Rice Tart - Torta di Riso di Marina

Serves 8-10

100 g / 3½ oz of risotto rice

1 litre / 1¾ pints of milk

200 g / 7 oz of sugar

100 g / 3½ oz of raw almonds with skin

8 regular size eggs, or 6 large eggs

1 vanilla pod

1 untreated lemon

20 small amaretti biscuits – or 10 regular ones

50 g / 1.8 oz of candied citron fruit

1 knob of butter

3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs

2 measures of Cognac

1 measure of rum

1 measure of bitter almond liqueur (Amaretto liqueur)

1 measure of Cointreau

Torta di RisoTorta di Riso from the ovenTorta di Riso ingredients
There are endless variations of this typical Italian tart. We have learned the one we are proposing here from our friend Marina, and we swear: it is really the best we have ever tasted! Prepare it one day in advance, because the tart has to rest for at least 12 hours for the complexity of its taste and texture to fully develop. It is worth the effort and the wait!

If you are not familiar with the citron fruit: it is not at all a lemon, although it belongs to the same citrus family. It is much bigger than a lemon, and while the lemon is consumed for its juice, the citron has very little or no juicy segments at all. The edible part of the citron is the thick inner white rind, which is often found candied in sugar, and is used for making desserts.

Soak the rice in plenty of water for one hour. Then, drain it, place it between two kitchen cloths and dry it thoroughly. When dry, leaving it inside the kitchen cloths, break it by rolling a clean empty bottle over the cloth as if it were a rolling pin, until all the grains are no longer whole – pay attention not to break them too finely.

With a steak knife, peel the very superficial rind of the lemon, the yellow part, possibly without breaking it, trying to avoid including the white inner layer.

Now place the milk, vanilla pod, lemon rind and half of the sugar in a saucepan and heat this mixture. When the liquid is almost boiling, add the broken rice, and let it cook at a simmer for about 20-30 minutes, mixing from time to time, until the rice is completely cooked, but making sure you do not overcook it. Switch off the heat and let the rice cool down.

In the meantime, place the almonds in boiling water for a few minutes, to make it easier to remove the skins. Peel them, and then toast them in a small frying pan until they just start turning golden – this will take 2-3 minutes. Make sure you don’t burn them! With a sharp knife, chop them quite finely, without reducing them to dust. With a mezzaluna (or sharp knife), chop the candied citron very finely. With your hands, crush the amaretti biscuits into crumbs.

Once the rice has cooled down, remove the vanilla pod, cut it lengthwise with a sharp knife and remove the seeds and pulp, mixing these with the rice. Discard the vanilla pod skin and the lemon rind. Add the citron, amaretti, almonds and one measure of Cognac to the rice. Mix, making sure that the candied citron fragments do not stick to each other.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F. Grease a baking pan of approximately 25 x 38 centimetres / 10 x 15 inches with the butter, and then coat it with breadcrumbs, shaking off the excess breadcrumbs.

Beat the eggs in a bowl with the remaining sugar until they are well whisked - they have incorporated a lot of air. Then, add this mixture to the pan with the rice, mixing gently with a rubber spatula in order to retain the air in the mixture. Now pour the mixture into the baking pan, and place in the oven for one hour. Every 15-20 minutes, take the pan out of the oven for a few seconds, and pierce the surface here and there with a cocktail stick in order to prevent the appearance of bubbles.

After one hour, decrease the oven temperature to 160°C / 310°F and allow to cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the tart is nicely golden on top – but make sure it does not turn too dark.

While the tart cooks, prepare the liqueur mixture you will use to flavour it. In a bowl, mix the remaining measure of Cognac with one measure of bitter almond liqueur (or Amaretto liqueur), one of Cointreau and one of rum.

When the tart is ready, pierce it once again with a cocktail stick to facilitate absorption of the liqueur mix, and start pouring the liqueur mix – a tablespoon at the time –evenly over the surface of the tart, trying to spread the liquid uniformly. Slightly inclining the baking tray up and down, right and left, can help to spread the liquid and make the absorption even. Cover the tart and let it rest in the fridge for at least 12 hours.

Then, cut it with a knife into small diamond shapes (with roughly 4 centimetre or 1 ½ inch sides), place a cocktail stick in each to allow your guests to help themselves and serve!

A recipe from  

Ada Cooks Italy