Sunday, April 19, 2009
Lemon-Rice Cake with Warm Blueberry Sauce
If you've spent time in Italy, chances are you've sampled this lemon flavored rice cake. It's one of my favorite desserts and I think you might enjoy it, too. It's simple to prepare and chances are you already have the ingredients needed to prepare it. I like to serve the cake warm, but it can be wrapped and refrigerated for a day. I think the cake becomes heavy if it is allowed to sit. Mine is a minority opinion. The recipe is adapted from one developed by Patricia Wells. I serve it with a simple, warm blueberry sauce that is very easy to prepare. If blueberries aren't your favorite fruit, substitute something that is more to your liking. The cake has been dressed up for its photograph. I normally serve it in a shallow bowl surrounded by fruit. This dessert does not stand on ceremony; it's true peasant fare.
1 cup Arborio rice
1 quart whole milk (no substitutes)
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided use
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Confectioners' sugar, for garnish
1) Combine rice, milk, salt and 1/2 cup sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to keep rice from sticking and milk from boiling over. Reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender and milk is nearly all absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Watch carefully as rice can stick and burn. Remove from heat and cool for at least 1 hour.
2) Adjust a rack to center of oven. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan with nonstick baking spray. Set aside.
3) Combine eggs and reserved 1/4 cup sugar in bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until thick and lemon colored. Add vanilla, zest and lemon juice; mix thoroughly. Stir in rice mixture. Scrape into prepared pan, smoothing top.
4) Bake until rice cake is a deep golden color and center is firm to touch, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on baking rack. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve.
5) Remove sides of springform pan, leaving cake on base of pan. Sprinkle top with confectioners' sugar. Cut and serve with fruit sauce if desired. Yield 8 to 12 servings.
Warm Blueberry Sauce
1 pound blueberries, washed and stemmed if necessary
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1) Combine blueberries, sugar and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes.
2) Transfer berry mixture to a 2-quart saucepan. Add water; bring to a simmer over low heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer for 5 minutes. Serve warm. Yield: 2 cups.