Torta di Riso (Rice Cake)

This recipe, which has many variations, is a dense, rich rice cake best when served with a dollop of slightly sweetened whipped cream. Making this dessert the day before serving allows the flavors to marinate. It can be made either in two 7-inch springform pans that make smaller cakes, or one large pan that takes longer to bake but results in a higher cake

Photo Francine Zaslow

Ingredients:

         3 1/2 cups milk

         1 cup (7 ounces) imported Arborio rice

         5 large eggs

         1 1/4 cups sugar

         1 teaspoon almond extract

         1 teaspoon vanilla

         1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

         3/4 cup candied citron, finely diced

         1/2 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

         2 teaspoons butter

         Bread crumbs for dusting pans

         Whiskey

Directions:

In a heavy 3- to 4-quart saucepan with cover, combine the milk and rice. Bring to a gentle boil over high heat. Turn heat to low, cover tightly and cook about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to check for sticking. The rice should be a little tender but still resistant to the bite. The mixture will also be a little soupy. Turn into a large bowl and allow it to cool.

Butter 2 (7-inch) spring form pans, dust with breadcrumbs and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Beat the eggs and the sugar with an electric beater until well combined. Add the almond extract, vanilla, and lemon zest. Pour egg mixture into the cooled rice and fold in the citron and almonds. 

Divide the mixture between the two prepared spring form pans, and bake 45 to 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and pour generous amounts of whisky over the cakes. Allow to cool on a rack, then unmold and serve at room temperature topped with a little whipped cream. One cake serves 6 to 8.

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