This rice custard tart is a delicious combination of a creamy, vanilla-flecked rice pudding with a caramelised top all baked in a crisp shortbread crust. It’s the perfect cure for the winter blues. Rosy-cheeked children returning home from the cold will be overjoyed at the sight of this belly-warming tart. I first spotted this tart while skiing in Valle d’Aosta and despite having a slice at lunch every day for a week, still needed to crack this recipe when I got home. It took several attempts to get the right texture – creamy enough to ooze just the right amount but firm enough to hold itself in a tart form. The top should caramelise nicely like a Portuguese natas tart. I hope you love it as much as we do. Enjoy!
Crostata di riso (rice custard tart)
300 grams flour
150 grams butter
120 grams sugar
5 grams baking powder
pinch of salt
3 large egg yolks
435 mls milk
165 mls double cream
140 grams risotto rice
1 unwaxed lemon, rinsed and zested
500 mls milk
6 large egg yolks
20 grams rice flour
20 grams cornflour/cornstarch
1 unwaxed lemon, rinsed and two 2 inch pieces of zest removed
1 vanilla pod, seeds removed (can substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
150 grams sugar
2 tablespoons icing sugar
Mix the butter and sugar well until combined and the colour has turned slightly lighter. Scrape down the bowl and add the egg, salt and lemon.Mix well until the egg yolks are emulsified. Mix the baking powder into the flour and combine well. Add the flour mixture to the butter and mix to combine. Be careful not to overmix the flour as you do not want to form gluten strands. Wrap in plastic and let it rest in the refrigerator for 2 hours up to 2 days.
Bring to a simmer the milk and single cream in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the rice and cook, stirring for 20 to 25 minutes or until the rice is soft. Add the grated lemon zest.
Heat 400 mls of the milk, sugar and vanilla bean with its seeds to 55 – 60C. Remove from the heat, remove the vanilla pod and strain the milk through a fine sieve. Separately, mix the egg yolks, cornstarch and rice flour in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the remaining 100 mls of cold milk into the egg mixture. Then slowly begin to add the hot milk mixture using a wooden spoon until well combined. In a double boiler, heat the mixture to 86C while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. A spoonful of custard dropped back on top should sit on top rather than sink back in. If not, keep stirring, being mindful to keep the temperature below 90C. Remove and cover with cling film until cool.
Mix the custard with the rice to combine and allow to cool.
Roll the pastry out and fill a greased tart tin. Prick the pastry all around with a fork. Pour the custard rice mixture into the tart shell. Sprinkle icing sugar over the top and back at 180C for 45 minutes.