Italian cake with red fruits

Italian cake with red fruits


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This unusual flourless cake makes an excellent dessert. Italian Arborio rice is cooked slowly in milk until tender and creamy. It is then mixed with eggs, nuts, lemon and rum and baked in the oven. An accompanying red fruit salad adds a dash of colour.

Lynn Lewis and Joachim Wahnschaffe

Serves: 8 

  • 625 ml milk
  • Strip of lemon rind
  • 165 g Arborio rice
  • 115 g pine nuts
  • 115 g blanched almonds
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 80 g caster sugar
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • Icing sugar, sifted, to decorate
  • 300 g strawberries
  • 125 g raspberries
  • 250 g cherries, pitted

Preparation:15min  ›  Cook:40min  ›  Extra time:1day5min  ›  Ready in:1day1hour 

  1. Heat the milk and zest in a heavy-based pan and bring to the boil. Stir in the rice, then reduce heat so that the milk barely simmers. Cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, for 40 minutes or until the rice is very soft and the mixture is thick and creamy. Spoon the rice mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease a 20-cm springform tin and line the base with baking paper.
  3. Spread the pine nuts and almonds in separate baking tins; toast in oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Roughly chop the almonds.
  4. Remove the lemon zest from the rice. Using a wooden spoon, beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Beat in caster sugar, grated lemon zest and rum. Add the nuts.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into rice mixture using a whisk or large metal spoon. Spoon the mixture into the tin.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  7. Leave the cake to cool in the tin. Wrap in cling film (still in the tin); chill overnight. Refrigerate for up to 48 hours, if necessary.
  8. To make the red fruit salad, purée half the strawberries in a food processor or blender or rub through a sieve with the back of a wooden spoon. Cut the remaining strawberries into halves; stir into the purée with the raspberries and cherries. Spoon into a bowl.
  9. Unmould the cake onto a serving plate and peel off the lining paper. Dust the cake with icing sugar and serve with the fruit salad.

Try this, too…

To make a chocolate version, cook the rice as in the main recipe using orange zest in place of the lemon. Then remove from heat, discarding the zest. While the mixture is still hot, add 50 g grated dark chocolate (containing at least 70 percent cocoa solids); stir until melted. Cool, then stir in 2 tablespoons cold espresso or strong coffee. Continue as for the main recipe.

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