BUDINI DI RISO | RICE PUDDINGS
Makes about 8 budino
Many say that the mark of a really good pasticceria is their budini di riso, a classic breakfast item amongst the line-up at any pastry shop. It’s not that they are difficult to do. Actually, they are really quite easy. I believe it’s more about the care put into them and the balance of sweetness, as it’s so disappointing to get a sickly-sweet budino di riso. The short pastry case should be thin, ever so slightly sweet and on the soft, blonde side. The rice pudding should be moist but firm, not hard and not too sweet, as the pretty, powdery icing sugar that coats the top supplies enough sweetness.
To make these, you really only need the classic sweet pastry recipe used for crostata and the recipe for rice fritters minus the flour and baking powder. Simple. To get the right shape, it’s ideal to have a friand pan or deep, oval pastry cups. Failing that, you can simply use a regular muffin tin.
100 g short-grain risotto rice such as arborio or carnaroli
500 ml milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon sugar
a pinch of salt
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
icing sugar for dusting
SWEET SHORTCRUST PASTRY
125 g cold unsalted butter
250 g plain flour
80 g sugar
1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk, beaten
zest of 1 lemon
To make the Sweet Shortcrust Pastry, chop the cold butter into small pieces. If using a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar and butter until you have a crumbly, sandy texture and there are no more visible pieces of butter. If mixing by hand, rub the butter into the flour and sugar Ωuntil you achieve the desired result. Mix in the beaten egg and yolk along with the lemon zest, until the pastry comes together into a smooth, elastic ball. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
To make the rice filling, place the rice and milk in a saucepan over low–medium heat, and cook, stirring frequently until the rice is soft and the mixture is thick and creamy, about 20 minutes (keep a careful eye on it that it doesn’t overflow or burn). Take off the heat, add the butter, and let it cool slightly before adding the eggs, sugar, salt, the lemon and orange zest and vanilla. Leave to cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F).
After resting the pastry dough, place on a lightly floured work surface, and roll out the pastry to a thin 2–3 mm sheet. Cut out rounds and press into eight oval pastry cups or an eight-hole friand pan, leaving a few millimetres of pastry overlapping the lip of the cup. Fill with the cooled rice filling.
Bake the budini for about 30 minutes or until light golden and firm. Let them cool a little in the pan before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar before serving. These are best eaten the day they are made (possibly warm) but you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
This is an edited extract from Florentine by Emiko Davies, published by Hardie Grant. Emiko is a food writer and photographer, she lives in Florence and has authored two cookbooks Florentine and Acquacotta. Her third cookbook will be released in 2019. www.emikodavies.com