A budino di riso is a rice pudding and the best are made with Arborio or carnaroli rice, starchy rice that develops a smooth, creamy texture while cooking. In this version of the Italian classic, it is baked in a bagno maria (water bath) which provides even heat and results in a light and creamy texture.
1 cup non fat Half-and-Half
1 1/4 cups low-fat milk (2%)
1/2 cup Arborio or carnaroli rice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2-inch piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon butter, cut into bits
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup pitted Bing cherries, cut n half
2 tablespoons Amaretto Liqueur
Combine the Half-and-Half, milk, rice, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the rice mixture, then add the vanilla bean piece. Cover the pot and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed. The rice should look soupy. This should take about 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove the vanilla bean and save for another use. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Stir in the sugar and let the mixture cool.
Preheat the oven to 325F. Brush six 3 by 1 1/2-inch ramekins with the melted butter.
Combine the eggs, lemon zest and cinnamon in a small bowl. Stir the mixture into the cooled rice. Fill the ramekins 2/3 full with the rice mixture and place them in a baking dish. Pour boiling water along the sides of the baking dish so it comes half way up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean but the pudding still jiggles when shaken. Remove the ramekins from the baking dish and allow to cool to room temperature before serving. Or refrigerate covered until ready to serve.
To make the sauce:
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir in the sugar. Cook until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the cherries and continue cooking until the cherries are glazed looking. Raise the heat to medium high and stir in the Amaretto. Cook 1 minute. Transfer the sauce to a small bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature.
To serve the budino:
Run a butter knife around the inside edges of the ramekins and unmold each one onto a dessert plate. Spoon some of the cherry sauce over the top; garnish with a mint leaf and serve.
Variation: Diced citron, raisins or dried fruits can be added to the rice mixture before baking.
This recipe is featured on show 1719, Fruit Fantasy — Una Frutta Fantasia.
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