Is My Blog Burning? Around the World in a Bowl of Rice Edition.
Amaretto Risotto Torte
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You need be in Italy for only 1 day and your senses are forever changed. The sights, the smells, the sounds...it is a truly vibrant and sensual country. So when rice was selected as the theme for the fourth blog burning edition, my heart headed straight back to Italy... those thick creamy risottos and the wonderful sweet Amaretto. Naturally, an event of the blog burning magnitude deserves something a little unconventional. And, Biba's Taste of Italy cookbook did not disappoint me in my quest. A cake that combines the rich creamy texture of risotto and the sweetness of Amaretto.
This dense torte-like cake is a classic Bolognese dessert. And, in central Pennsylvania -- a virtual culinary wasteland -- classic anything requires some adaptation. But the results are fantastic, and with an espresso or strong Italian roast coffee, a little slice of this torte after a meal is refreshingly cool, deliciously sweet and dense enough to ensure that you leave your table satisfied.
For all the results of the Fourth Edition of Is My Blog Burning? check in with Pim.
Amaretto Risotto Torte
adapted from Biba's Rice Cake found in Biba's Taste of Italy: Recipes from the Homes, Trattorie, and Restaurants of Emilia-Romagna, by Biba Caggiano. Copyright ©2001 by Bib Caggiano (William Morrow & Co.).
4 cups milk
1/2 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 cup Arborio rice
unsalted butter for baking pan
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs
12 Pepperidge Farm Bordeaux cookies (original recipe calls for Amaretti di Saronno cookies)
3/4 cup whole blanched almonds
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons Amaretto (original recipe allows for rum as a substitution)
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1 container extra creamy Cool Whip dessert topping
2 tablespoons Amaretto liquor
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk with 1/2 cup granulated sugar and the lemon zest over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Add the rice, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, until rice is tender and milk has been absorbed, about 40 minutes. Unlike regular risottos, constant stirring throughout the cooking is not necessary here. However, during the last few minutes of cooking, stir rice constantly. The rice will have the consistency of a thick porridge. Transfer rice to a large bowl, and cool to room temperature.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8 or 9-inch round baking pan. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the bottom and sides of the pan, then turn the pan upside down and shake out excess crumbs.
3. Place the cookies and almonds in the bowl of a food processor, and finely chop. Add to the cooled rice. In a large separate bowl, beat eggs until thick and pale yellow. Add amaretto; mix well. Add to cooled rice mixture; stir to combine.
4. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the egg whites with the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar until stiff. Fold the egg whites into the rice mixture. Pour the batter into prepared pan, and shake pan lightly to distribute batter evenly.
5. Place pan on the middle rack of the oven, and bake until top of cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool on a rack to room temperature. (The cake can be prepared up to a day ahead. Let cool, cover, and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.)
6. Remove cake from pan, and place on a round serving plate. Add the Amaretto to the extra creamy cool whip and stir in its container (carefully) to combine. Add a dollop of the creamy flavored topping to each slice. Serve with espresso or Italian Roast coffee.