A dessert made for special occasions like Easter was this Torta di Riso, or Rice Cake. There are many versions of this cake in Italy, but this remains my favorite. If you cannot find citron, substitute candied fruit peel.
5 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup fine bread crumbs, toasted
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons sweet Marsala wine
2 cups milk
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup arborio rice
2 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup diced candied citron
Grease a 6-cup glass or ceramic mold with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Coat the mold with the bread crumbs, shaking out the excess. Refrigerate until ready to fill.
In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the Marsala for 30 minutes.
In a 1 1/2-quart saucepan, combine the milk, water, sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, add the rice, and cook slowly until all the liquid is absorbed, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Transfer the rice to a bowl and cool to warm, then mix in the egg yolks, vanilla, remaining butter, citron, and raisins with Marsala.
In a separate bowl, with an electric beater, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold the egg whites into the rice mixture. Spread the rice evenly in the prepared mold and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let the mold cool completely. Place a serving plate larger than the mold on top, invert, and release onto the plate. Cut into wedges to serve.
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