Arborio rice & custard tart

Arborio rice & custard tart

Torta di riso

The Amalfi Coast
(makes one 25 cm round cake)
Helen Cathcart

This tart is based on the traditional pastiera cake that was eaten at Easter but has now become available almost all year round. This version is made with rice rather than grano cotto, swollen grains of wheat, available pre-cooked in Italian delis. The tart usually contains orange flower water which is a very powerful flavour, so use sparingly if at all.

For the pasta frolla


Quantity Ingredient
180g salted butter
350g ‘00’ or plain flour
135g caster sugar
2 eggs

For the filling

Quantity Ingredient
200g arborio risotto rice or pudding rice
1 litre milk
1 lemon, zested
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or seeds from a vanilla pod
250g ricotta
250g caster sugar
125g candied fruit, such as orange and lemon
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
4 egg yolks
a few drops orange flower water, (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Start by making the pasta frolla. In a bowl, rub the butter and flour together with your fingertips, then use a dough scraper or spatula to mix in the sugar and eggs. When well blended, shape the pastry into a flattened ball, wrap in clingfilm and allow to rest in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the tart.
  2. Generously butter a 3.5 cm deep, 25 cm round loose-bottomed tin. Peel a strip of zest from the lemon and then grate the remaining zest and reserve for later. Cook the rice in the milk until soft and tender with the strip of zest and half the vanilla – this should take 20–25 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and tip the rice onto a tray to cool, spreading it out thinly so that it cools quickly – the rice needs to cool within 1 hour of cooking to prevent bacterial growth.
  3. Meanwhile, on a floured work surface, roll the pastry out to a circle large enough to line the base and sides of the tin – about 32 cm in diameter. Line the buttered tin with the pastry and trim the edges with a sharp knife. When the rice is at room temperature, transfer it to a bowl and mix in the remaining filling ingredients, including the reserved grated lemon zest. Pour into the lined tin. Cook for 50–60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is firm to the touch and pale golden. Take out of the oven and remove the outer rim of the tin. Allow to reach room temperature before serving. Store in the fridge if not eaten on the day.

A note on oven temperatures:

  • It has been assumed throughout that a fan-forced oven is being used. Please adjust your temperatures to 20°C higher if you are using a conventional oven.
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