Cakes, Pies & Tarts, Dessert, Gluten-free

Torta di Riso di Grazianella (Italian Rice Cake)

Nicoletta February 7, 2018

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Torta di Riso di Grazianella (Italian Rice Cake) is moist, not overly sweet, with a delightful lemon and vanilla flavor, the surprise of the raisins in every bite, and that starchiness and playful bite of the Arborio rice.

Song of the day: Hall and Oates – Out of Touch.

At the time when my parents were part of a Polyphonic Choir, my father as a tenor and my mother as a contralto, I was a young woman who was finishing her studies and followed them on their travels around the city, in Italy, and abroad, for their concerts. I had become the mascot of the group and knew all the members of the choir who considered me as their daughter.

 

 

Among the colleagues of the choir who later also became friends with my mother, Grazianella, a woman from the North of Italy and contralto like my mother, was a happy and reassuring presence. She is the inspirer of this recipe for Torta di Riso di Grazianella (Italian Rice Cake), which she gave to my mother many many years ago and which I found on a small notebook, handwritten by my mother and with some stains of ancient memory on the page.

Torta di Riso di Grazianella (Italian Rice Cake)-ingredients

I remember fondly those afternoons when I returned home and was welcomed by the smell of rice boiled in milk and the icing sugar that still hung in the air. Because my mother made this recipe many times and each time we appreciated it as if it was the very first time.

Torta di Riso di Grazianella (Italian Rice Cake)-preparation+recipe book

About thirty years later, during my stay in Rome, I found that little notebook and immediately I had the desire to revive the famous Torta di Riso di Grazianella, who, sadly, is no longer with us. One afternoon, in the kitchen of my parents, in Rome, under the supervision of my mother who remembered how the recipe was to be done, I made this cake, typical of Northern Italy, delicate and fragrant, not overly sweet and very flavorful.

Torta di Riso di Grazianella (Italian Rice Cake)-before and after the oven

Just a few simple ingredients for a ‘genuine’ recipe that is naturally gluten-free and tastes like the comfort of family: rice, milk, vanilla, lemon peel, eggs, raisins. Plus, the usual final touch of every Italian homemade dessert I can think of, a dusting of powdered sugar.

Torta di Riso di Grazianella (Italian Rice Cake)-top viewTorta di Riso di Grazianella (Italian Rice Cake)-cut into squares

I decided to bake it in a rectangular baking dish so I could cut it into squares. I am really happy with the final result. I like the look and the taste of this Torta di Riso (Italian Rice Cake). It is the perfect ‘finger dessert’ size, it is moist, with a delightful lemon and vanilla flavor, the surprise of the raisins in every bite, and that starchiness and playful bite of the Arborio rice. The moistness of this Torta di Riso is so luxurious and rich leaving your tastebuds in a delightful way. This dessert I am sure will win the many hearts of those who try it as it was made with lots of love and memory from a woman truly inspiring!

I am sure Grazianella would be proud of me and while tasting a square she would burst into one of her infectious laughs and would tell me: Brava!

Torta di Riso di Grazianella (Italian Rice Cake)-squares with icing sugar

Enjoy!

Song of the day: Hall and Oates – Out of Touch.

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Torta di Riso di Grazianella (Italian Rice Cake)

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  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 15 squares
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Torta di Riso di Grazianella (Italian Rice Cake) is moist, not overly sweet, with a delightful lemon and vanilla flavor, the surprise of the raisins in every bite, and that starchiness and playful bite of the Arborio rice.


Ingredients

  • 1-liter milk
  • 200 g of Arborio rice
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • lemon, organic, peel only
  • 1 vanilla bean pod (or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract)
  • 100 g raw cane sugar
  • a handful of raisins
  • eggs + 2 egg yolks, organic free-range, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp liqueur (Cognac, Rum, Marsala)
  • butter for the baking pan
  • breadcrumbs for the baking pan and topping
  • icing sugar (to dust on top)

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan over a low heat add the rice, milk, lemon peel, vanilla bean pod, and a pinch o salt. Bring the milk to a gentle simmer and cook the rice until al dente (mine took about 30 minutes). Pour in a medium bowl, and stir occasionally to help cool down. Remove the lemon peel and vanilla bean pod.
  2. Soak the raisins in the liqueur.
  3. Add the sugar to the rice mixture, the lightly beaten eggs, the raisins, and liqueur. Stir the mixture well.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F), position the rack in the middle of the oven.
  5. Butter a 30 x 20cm baking dish, then dust with the breadcrumbs.
  6. Pour the rice batter into the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with more breadcrumbs.
  7. Place in the preheated oven and cook for about 45-50 minutes, or until golden on top. To check if the rice cake is perfectly cooked, insert a toothpick into the middle of the cake, if it comes out dry then the cake is ready.
  8. Turn off the oven and leave the cake for 5 more minutes inside to dry out a bit. Then, take out of the oven and let cool completely.
  9. Divide into squares, dust with icing sugar and enjoy!

Notes

The Cooking Time include the 30 minutes cooking time of the rice and the 45 minutes of the cake.

This Rice Cake is best eaten the day it is made or the day after, since it tends to lose its moistness as days pass.

Post e Ricetta in Italiano

Ai tempi in cui i miei facevano parte di un Coro Polifonico, mio padre come tenore e mia madre come contralto, io ero una giovana donna che stava finendo gli studi e li seguiva nei loro spostamenti in città, in Italia, e all’estero, per i loro concerti. Ero diventata la mascotte del gruppo e conoscevo tuti i membri del coro che mi consideravano come una loro figlia. Tra le colleghe del coro che poi divennero anche amiche di mia madre, Grazianella, donna del Nord e contralto come mia madre, era una presenza allegra e rassicurante. E’ lei l’ispiratrice di questa ricetta di Torta di Riso, che diede a mia madre molti anni fa e che io ho trovato appuntata su di un quadernetto, scritta a mano e con qualche macchia di antica memoria.

Ricordi riaffiorano dei pomeriggi in cui tornavo a casa e mi accoglieva il profumo del riso bollito nel latte, e dello zucchero a velo che ancora aleggiava nell’aria. Perchè questa ricetta mia madre la rifece molte volte e ogni volta noi la apprezzavamo come la prima.

Una trentina di anni dopo, durante il mio soggiorno Romano, quel quadernetto è capitato in mio possesso ed è scattato in me il desiderio di far rivivere la famosa Torta di Riso di Grazianella, che nel frattempo, purtroppo, non c’è più. Un pomeriggio, nella cucina dei miei genitori, a Roma, sotto la supervisione della mamma che ricordava come la ricetta andava eseguita, mi sono cimentata in questo dolce, tipico del Nord Italia, delicato e fragrante, poco zuccheroso ma molto gustoso.

Pochi semplici ingredienti per una ricetta che sa di buono, di coccole e famiglia, che ha tra i suoi ingredienti: riso, latte, vaniglia, scorza di limone, uova, uvetta. Più il solito tocco finale, da dolci di casa, la spolverata di zucchero a velo. Ho deciso di cuocerla in una teglia rettangolare così poi da tagliarla a quadrotti. Sono soddisfatta di come è venuta e di quanto è buona. Sono convinta che Grazianella, assaggiandola, irromperebbe in una delle sue risate contagiose e mi direbbe: Brava!

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Torta di Riso di Grazianella

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  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 15 quadrotti

Ingredients

  • 1 litro di latte
  • 200 g riso Arborio
  • 1 scorza di limone biologico
  • 1 pizzico di sale
  • 1 bacca vaniglia (o 1 cucchiaino di estartto puro di vaniglia)
  • 100 g zucchero integrale di canna
  • 1 cucchiaino Cognac (o Rum, o Marsala)
  • 2 uova intere, organiche da allevamento a terra
  • 2 tuorli
  • 1 pugno di uvetta (o mandorle sbucciate e tritate)
  • burro per la teglia
  • pan grattato per la teglia e la superficie
  • zucchero a velo (per decorazione)

Instructions

  • Mettere a cuocere il riso nel latte con la scorza di limone, la bacca di vaniglia e un pizzico di sale.
  • Mettere l’uvetta a bagno nel bicchierino di liquore.
  • Cuocere per circa 25-30 minuti, poi spegnere e versare in una ciotola mescolando di tanto in tanto per farlo raffreddare. Togliere la buccia di limone e la bacca di vaniglia.
  • Aggiungere il cucchiaino di estratto di vaniglia (se non avevate usato la bacca), lo zucchero, il liquore con l’uvetta. Mescolare.
  • Aggiungere poi le uova intere e i tuorli, leggermente sbattute. Mescolare il tutto e mettere in una teglia rettangolare 30×20 cm, imburrata e spolverata di pangrattato.
  • Spolverare la superficie con pangrattato. Infornare, e cuocere a forno moderato 180° C per 45-50 minuti.
  • Spegnere il forno e lasciarla qualche minuto ad asciugar bene.
  • Tirare fuori dal forno, far raffreddare, tagliare a quadrotti, e spolverare con zucchero a velo.

Torta di Riso di Grazianella (Italian Rice Cake)-closeup of the squares

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12 Comments

  • Reply Milena | Craft Beering February 7, 2018 at 9:22 am

    As usual you strike a cord sharing your background and life in Rome. (Have fun while there!) The name of this rice cake in Italian sounds so poetic, just flows like a melody. Looks so tempting and it is only about an hour and a half away!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 7, 2018 at 9:43 am

      Thank you so much Milena, you always say such nice things! I am missing Loreto and my ‘normal’ life with him there, terribly, but I am still trying to make the best of my stay in my city with my family 🙂 .

  • Reply crumbtopbaking February 7, 2018 at 10:34 am

    A square of this rice cake with a cup of tea would make the perfect afternoon snack! Loved reading about the memories you associate with this recipe! Happy Wednesday!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 7, 2018 at 12:41 pm

      Thank you! I bet it is great with a cup of tea 🙂 . Happy Wednesday to you!

  • Reply Nicole February 7, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    This sounds delightful! It’s always a treat reading more about Italian cuisine from you two. Here’s another one I’ll have to add to my list to try. 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 7, 2018 at 12:42 pm

      Oh, thank you, Nicole!! It is another one of those simple yet tasty Italian recipes 🙂 .

  • Reply timeforgrub February 7, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    This sounds really wonderful and I wish I had a piece to go with the tea I’m drinking as I type. I also love the story behind it. Recipes like this are real reasures.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 7, 2018 at 12:44 pm

      Thanks so much! I am so happy when I stumble in some of my family’s old recipes! It would be good with your tea 🙂 .

  • Reply maria February 7, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    I am also sure that Grazianella would be proud… the rice cake looks wonderful Nicoletta. It never seizes to amaze how certain foods we had in our youth, can trigger so many wonderful memories. I can only imagine what a wonderful afternoon you must have spent with your mom making this cake. Thanks for sharing♥♥♥

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 8, 2018 at 12:26 pm

      Thank you, Maria! Such a lovely taste has this cake, and it always reminds me of beautiful old times!

  • Reply Dawn @ Girl Heart Food February 8, 2018 at 10:32 am

    You always leave me wanting to try your recipe! This looks so tasty and kinda creamy! And how special that you found that notebook! Have a lovely weekend, you guys! XO

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 8, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      It is so flavorful, Dawn, and yes, creamy is the word 🙂 . Thank you!! Have a wonderful weekend!

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