Make a Simple and Delicious Torta Di Riso Con Nocciole
A Tricked Out Torta
Spring has sprung now in most areas. In Italy, and Italian households, it is a time, heralded by Easter, when so many of the cakes and dolci favorites appear at the table. Lent and fasting are over, and it is a time for joy and celebration. Indulgence in our favorite sweet treats is allowed and even encouraged. The examples are endless and include Ricotta Cakes, the Pastiera of Napoli, the Chestnut Cakes of Tuscany, Semolina Puddings, and the recipe of this day which is Torta Di Riso Con Nocciole or Torta Di Riso With Hazelnuts.
Rice in Italy: Riso is rice in Italian. Rice is usually thought of by many as some sort of Risotto when it comes to Italian cooking. It is true that Risotto is more familiar, and there are recipes out there “to infinity and beyond.” We think of Risotto especially in the North of Italy as a meal starter. In the South, however, you will often see rice finishing a meal in the form of some sort of sweet dessert treat.
What is Torta Di Riso: A torta in Italian is a kind of pie or tart. It can even appear to be a cake. It is usually baked –sometimes with a double crust, sometimes with a single crust, and sometimes with no crust at all. A Torta di Riso is simply a rice pie. The particular recipe we are using has no crust. It is kind of a baked pudding in a pie shape. This will delight all those who have pie crust phobia or those who can’t duplicate their mother’s and are terrified of trying. A Torta Di Riso is perhaps one of the easiest forms of torta.
Regional version: The torta we are making is a similar recipe to one used in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy where cooking is considered art and where many chefs are schooled – i.e. Bologna. It is the home of Parma famous for the most amazing of hams and also the great Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese – to which there is no equal. One can’t disregard the many Emilian pastas that also hail from this region: tagliatelle, pappardelle, tortellini, and others. All this and torta too??
Today’s recipe: My “tricked out” Torta Di Riso Con Nocciole is delicious and nutty. I chose hazelnuts and Frangelico (Hazelnut Liqueur) because the hazelnut is a standard ingredient in so many Italian dolci. I toast them because this brings out their taste and the oil in the nut, making their flavor more intense than it would be without taking that extra easy step. The Frangelico has such a lovely sweet subtle hazelnut flavor and adds another delicious level to the dessert. The drizzling of the liqueur at the end of the baking process gives the Torta one last important kick that launches the taste buds into another dimension. I use Arborio or Risotto Rice because aside from being an Italian favorite, its consistency is so much nicer than regular long grain rice. Finishing a meal with this Torta and a cup of espresso or coffee is just perfection in my mind.
What are we waiting for? Andiamo!
TORTA DI RISO
Prep: 50 min.
Cook: 45 minutes
4 c. Whole Milk
3/4 c. Arborio Rice (Risotto Rice)
1 c. Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp. Almond Extract
2 oz. Frangelico Liqueur + some for final “drizzle”(This is a Hazelnut Liqueur – very easy to find at any Liquor Store)
3/4 c. Coarsely Chopped Hazelnuts – toasted
1/2 c. Chopped Candied Lemon Peel or Candied Orange Peel
1/2 c. Semi-sweet Chocolate Mini Chips
Oil a large quiche dish, round baking dish, or springform pan. (about 10” is fine – you can vary the size.)Even a simple 13 x 9 baking pan can be use for a rectangular shape, if you like.
Bring milk to a boil in large saucepan.
Add the rice and stir. Arborio or Risotto Rice is easily found at any grocer. It is a short grain rice.
Add sugar, vanilla, and almond extracts. Stir in.
Reduce heat and cook at a strong simmer uncovered on low about 45 minutes. Give it a stir once in a while during this process, and watch that the bottom doesn’t burn.
When finished, remove from heat and cool down.
Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Add the Frangelico – beat well.
Add the nuts to the eggs.
Then add the candied peel. You can use either lemon or orange. Make your own if you have time or if you can’t find it at your grocer.You might try this method: “No Need To Pucker”
Add the mini chips.(Make sure your rice mixture is completely cooled down or your chips will melt.)
Stir all together until incorporated.
Pour into the oiled dish or pan.
Bake at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes OR UNTIL JUST FIRM IN THE MIDDLE and golden on the top. Remove from the oven, and while still warm, poke some holes in the top of the Torta di Riso and drizzle with a little Frangelico.
Cool completely and refrigerate.
To Serve: Serve cold with some whipped cream and garnish with a little fresh mint. A small glass of Frangelico along with this delicious dessert would be so lovely. A cup of rich, dark coffee or espresso – fantastico!
Tip: Don’t save this one just for Easter. Torta Di Riso With Hazelnuts is appropriate as a finish to any good meal.
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PARLA COME MANGI!
Also: See the RECIPE OF THE MONTH on
Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography