Italian rice cake

Italian rice cake
Italian rice cake Photo: Jennifer Soo

Symbolic sweets are part of festivities around the world. Make them ahead of time as a wonderful centrepiece for the Easter table or a special gift for family and friends.


200g arborio rice

3 cups milk

1 vanilla bean, split

20g butter

Rind of 1 lemon, finely grated

2 eggs

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/4 cup and 1 tbsp caster sugar, extra

2 small oranges, peeled, thinly sliced

For the filling

30g dried apples

60g sultanas

8 dried apricots

1/2 cup water

1 cup dry white wine

5 tbsp sugar

1/2 large orange, peel on, thinly sliced

Cream, to serve


Preheat oven to 170C. Combine rice, milk and vanilla bean in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until boiling. Add butter, stir and simmer gently, partly covered, for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stand mixture for 10 mins. Strain rice and remove vanilla bean. Cool.

For the filling

Place fruit in a bowl, cover with warm water and stand for 10 mins. Drain, chop, add to saucepan with water, wine and sugar and simmer for 10 mins. Add orange slices, simmer for 10 mins longer and strain, reserving liquid.

Mix lemon rind, eggs and 1/2 cup of sugar into rice mixture. Butter a 22cm ring tin and dust with 1/4 cup sugar. Spread three-quarters of the rice mixture over the bottom and around the sides of tin. Place fruit in centre and cover with remaining rice. Smooth top and sprinkle with 1 tbsp sugar. Place tin in a baking dish with hot water halfway up the sides of the tin. Bake 45 mins or until set.

Stand in tin for 15 minutes to cool slightly before turning out.

To serve 

Arrange orange slices on top and serve with reserved poaching syrup and cream.