CamarĂ³n Rebosada with Mango Pineapple Sauce
Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Pie


Brandy laced, golden topped, creamy baked custard sits magically upon a layer of soft rice muddled with more custard.  A firm creme caramel and a rice pudding walk into a Tuscany.....


This is not your Nonna's rice pudding!  Oh wait a minute.......maybe it is.

It is likely indeed that a recipe quite akin to this version of rice and custard torta hails from someone's dearheart Aunt Sofia, who's life passion it is to reside over all the making and baking and rolling and simmering that goes on in her kitchen overlooking the sun-warmed hillsides of beautiful Tuscany.  And who's grown-up bambinos still request her Torta di Riso alla Carrarina for dessert, after Sunday family lunches.

Simplicity is central to Tuscan food, as is a healthy respect for good, simple, fresh, local ingredients.  This effortless, unerring attention to Tuscan food traditions inevitably results in dishes that are rich in flavour.  Just like this torta. Sweet!

This down-home style dessert is easy peasy to whisk together.  As it bakes the rice settles, and the custard sits happily on top, basking, until deliciously golden and firm.  Once cooled, the torta is easily cut into cake-like pieces. And is one of those desserts that you can easily dress up for company, with Amaretto laced, softly whipped cream and fresh berries.


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Adapted from Emiko's post on Food 52, and Dead Chef food blog
for The Last Wonton

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We usually serve our Torta with fresh berries, just as they are, and brandy laced, whipped cream sweetened with a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar.  Next time I'm going to top every slice with syrupy, fresh strawberries, macerated with Amaretto and just a tich of sugar, to kick up the berries fragrant juices.....and a dollop of whipped cream.  And then the next, next, time I'm going to use brandied sour cherries to crown our Torta slices.

Be sure to use a high edged (2-inches), solid-bottomed, 9 or 10-inch round cake pan.

1/2 cup short-grain risotto rice, such as Arborio
2 pinches of salt, divided
Butter, for greasing pan
1 1/4 cups sugar, plus extra for dusting
6 large eggs
1/4 cup of liquor, such as brandy, rum, Amaretto, Frangelico
Zest of 1 lemon + 1 orange
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract, or seeds of half a vanilla bean
2 cups whole milk, warmed slightly

Cook the rice with a pinch of salt in boiling water, as you would pasta, for 10 minutes - it should be al dente.  Drain the rice and set aside to cool a bit.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Prepare 9 or 10 inch, high-sided, solid-bottomed round cake pan by greasing well with butter and sprinkling with sugar, to cover evenly.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, liquor, zest, vanilla and a pinch of salt until nicely combined.  Add the warmed milk and rice, mixing to combine.  Mixture will be very liquidy.  Pour custard into prepared pan.

Carefully transfer the pan to the oven and bake 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes, until the custard is set and looks brulee (golden, toasty brown).  A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean.

Remove and let cool in pan.  Serve at room temperature, or chilled, with lightly sweetened whipped cream and some yummy fresh berries, or fruit.  Keeps well, covered with plastic wrap, in fridge for 3 days.


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