Yesterday I spent a loooot of time online. I looked at blogs I already know, I looked at new ones. I looked at recipes I had bookmarked and I looked for new ones. And still nothing....I was craving for something but I could not figure out what. Have that ever happened to you? What do you do when you know you are craving for something but you cannot quite figure out what for? What do you do when you really really really feel like baking but you don't seem to have a big inspiration moment?
Well, this is what I did....I kept surfing the web...until all this surfing brought me to...my childhood. Yes! Exactly. My childhood. After dozens and dozens of recipes that despite being amazing were not entirely attracted me, I ended up finding a recipe for "risini". And what on earth are "risini"?!? I know, I know, you are already wondering about that. Risini (or budini di riso) are small tartlettes made with rice cooked in the milk and then baked....yes kind of a baked rice pudding but also with a shell of dough around them (usually...not always).
When I was in primary school, my mom went back to work after a few years she spent as full time mom. So, when I was coming back home from school I was not finding her waiting for me anymore. Instead, I was getting home, warm up my meal and eat lunch at home. Awwwwww, how sad was that! (And how not good was re-warmth food compared to the "just-put-on-the-table-lunch" I was used to. So, to cheer me up my mom got into the habit of buying me a risino from the bakery we had in front of our home. Every day, coming home, I knew I was going to find a white paper bag on the table. Every day, I was rushing to open it to check my surprise. Every day, in my heart, I already knew it was going to be a delicious risino. Every day, I was really grateful to my mom for that!
So, when I found a couple of blogs that had the recipe I knew I had to look no further. I was going to make risini, for the first time in my life! And now I have learnt a BIIIIG lesson: every time I feel I am craving for something, every time I need something but I cannot quite figure out what it is, now I know I have to go back to the origins. Back to those simple and delicious treats I was having as a kid.
However, as I said, i found a couple of different versions of the recipe: one looks to me like the "real" one, while the other looks like a quicker one. This time I have decided to make the quick version, the one without the shell of dough wrapping up the rice pudding. Of course, I have all intentions to make the real one soon, very soon. So, watch out for it in one of the next few posts!
yields about 18 risini
200 gr (7 oz) rice for risotto (Arborio, Vialone Nano...anyone you can find)
1 litre (33.8 oz or 4.22 cups) whole milk
5 gr (1 tsp) vanilla extract
28 gr (2 tbsp) cornstarch
120 gr (4.2 oz) granulated sugar
50 gr (1.7 oz a bit less than half stick) butter, melted and cooled
a pinch of salt
flour (just enough for the muffin pans)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a muffin pan (or two if you want to cook all at the same time) with butter and flour.
Put the rice, vanilla extract and some milk in a pot and bring to boil. Add half of the sugar and continue to add milk, very slowly. As soon as the rice is "al dente" (cooked inside but still a bit hard to bite) pour the mixture into a bowl and let it cool completely.
In the meantime, beat the eggs, the salt and the remaining sugar until you obtain a smooth cream. Add the cornstarch and whisk until completely incorporated. Add also the melted butter (make sure it is not hot anymore)
Finally, add the rice. The final mixture should be dense but not too compact. (if necessary, add some milk)
Fill in the muffin pans and cook for about 25 minutes. (I actually ended up cooking them for about 30 minutes)
When ready, let them cool on a cooling rack before removing from the pans.
Source: adapted from Ginger and Tomato