Anna's  Torta di Riso Recipe 

Anna's Torta di Riso Recipe, Italy

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the peasant women ("le mondine" in Italian) of Emilia Romagna would be given the family duty to help in the rice harvest. They would travel along the paddies of the Po River Valley to places like Vercelli to cultivate the famous short-grain Arborio rice. After the plentiful harvest, the families were left with an abundance of rice. Naturally, the Italian women came up with creative ways to cook the rice by combining the rice with local milk from the same cows that produce Parmeggiano Reggiano cheese. Through the hard work and creativity of le mondine, the Torta di Riso, or "Rice Cake" was born. 

 

Today, Anna keeps the Torta di Riso tradition alive and is famous in Reggio Emilia for the cake which her daughters, neighbors, and friends all request on special occasions. Biting into a piece of her cake is perfect; the crispy golden crust gives way to a sweet, milky rice filling that is accentuated with a delicate hint of lemon flavor. 

ingredients for  Torta di Riso

  • 4 cups whole milk

  • 3 large pieces of lemon rind (only the yellow of the rind)

  • Cinnamon stick

  • A quarter of a vanilla pod or .5 tsp. of vanilla extract

  • 1 cup granulated sugar 

  • 1 cup Arborio Rice

  • 1 Tbsp Sassolino Liquor or rum

  • Zest from a whole lemon

  • 4 eggs

  • 4 teaspoons of brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons bread crumb

  • 1.5 tablespoon brown sugar

  • Confectioners' sugar

Recipe for  Torta di Riso

Serves: 10-12 People

 

  1. In a medium-sized pot, combine the milk, lemon rind, cinnamon stick, quarter of a vanilla pod, and a half cup of sugar. Bring ingredients to a boil over medium heat, occasionally stirring so that the sugar dissolves in the milk. When the milk begins to boil, lower the heat to a simmer, remove any skin from the surface of the milk, and mix in the rice.

  2. Cook over low heat (approx. 25 minutes), stirring occasionally. Once the rice soaks up the milk and becomes congealed and sticky, take the mixture off of the heat. We can now call this mixture "rice pudding," because of its texture and consistency.

  3. Allow the rice pudding to cool and preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

  4. Remove the lemon rinds, cinnamon stick, and vanilla pod from the rice pudding and add the remaining half cup of sugar and the sassolino liquor. Combine thoroughly.

  5. Zest a whole lemon into the rice pudding. Be careful to only zest the yellow of the rind and none of the white pith!

  6. Using a fork, whisk 1 egg in a separate bowl and slowly mix it into the rice pudding. Repeat this step 3 times, incorporating the remaining eggs, one-by-one. Do not try to add all 4 eggs at the same time or the cake won't hold together.

  7. Butter the interior of 9-inch pan.

  8. Sprinkle on a thin layer of brown sugar and bread crumbs on the pan as evenly as possible.

  9. Pour the rice pudding into the pan and sprinkle on a thin layer of 2 tsp. of brown sugar on top.

  10. Bake until the torta is golden brown and a toothpick comes out of the center without any residual pudding (~ 1 hour).

  11. Allow the torta to cool for 20 minutes.

  12. Using a butter knife, cut along the edges of the pan. 

  13. Lightly pound the pan up and down against your counter top, until you can feel the cake separate from the bottom of the pan. Now flip the torta onto the serving plate and powder it with confectioners' sugar

  14. Enjoy your Torta di Riso, Made with Love. Made with Love Tip: Torta di Riso is always better the next day! 

Recipe Photos

lemon peel, Anna's Italian Torta di Riso Recipe
Adding the cinnamon stick, lemon rinds, vanilla pod, sugar and milk to the pot, Anna's Italian Torta di Riso Recipe
stirring in the ingredients, Anna's Italian Torta di Riso Recipe
Removing the lemon rind, Anna's Italian Torta di Riso Recipe
Adding the rice, Anna's Italian Torta di Riso Recipe
Sassolino Liquor, Anna's Italian Torta di Riso Recipe
Adding the Sassolino Liquor, Anna's Italian Torta di Riso Recipe
Grating the lemon rind into the ingredients, Anna's Italian Torta di Riso Recipe
two eggs, Anna's Italian Torta di Riso Recipe
beating the two eggs, Anna's Italian Torta di Riso Recipe
Adding the two beaten eggs, Anna's Italian Torta di Riso Recipe
The batter in the pan, Anna's Italian Torta di Riso Recipe
Anna preparing the pan, Anna's Italian Torta di Riso Recipe
Adding brown sugar, Anna's Italian Torta di Riso Recipe
Cutting the sides to the pan, Anna's Italian Torta di Riso Recipe
Flipping the torta, Anna's Italian Torta di Riso Recipe
The Recipe Hunters with Anna and the Torta di RIso in Reggio Emiglia, Italy
Slice of the Torta di Riso, Emiglia Romana, Italy

Written by The Recipe Hunters

Anthony Morano and Leila Elamine