Mum, could you buy me a rice tartlet? The Italian rice pudding tartlets

Date gennaio 23, 2012

I like San Gimignano in the early morning, when it is still not crowded with tourists, when you see the local people passing along the streets almost incredulous to have San Gimignano for themselves, yet still for just a few more minutes. I like it when the footsteps echo on the cobbled shady streets, resounding between the high walls of the houses.

I like the gray colour of the stones, especially when they have just been washed by the rain of the early spring. In San Gimignano, along the main street that goes to the Cathedral from the park outside the walls, just after the main gate on the left you find the Pasticceria Armando e Marcella, one of my favourite pastry shops in the world. Every time that mum took me there as a little girl, just entered my question was always the same: Mum, could you buy me a rice tartlet?

The subtly lemon scented rice pudding tartlets were my favourite sweet treat as a child, whether bought by mum on a common Saturday when we went to visit my granddad Remigio who lived there, or by my aunt Silvana in an early morning before going to the market when I used to spend in San Gimignano a few days during the summer holidays.

It might depend on their special character or in their essence interwoven with childhood memories and flavours, but they are still my favourite choice on the rare occasions when I have breakfast in a bar, or when I enter in a baker’s shop and they have just been baked and are still warm with a gentle creaminess inside.

I baked them just before leaving for London, in one of those days when you need comfort from food and memories, using my grandma’s rice cake as basic recipe and working on it.

I scribbled down the recipe, took a few pictures and came to London meaning to write this post from here, from the warm and cosy kitchen in South East London, where there is always an Italian coffee. But then, as it always happens to me abroad, I felt like cooking home food and I baked again my rice pudding tartlets for breakfast along with minestrone, my mum’s veggie soup (not for breakfast!). The rice pudding tartlets, changing the country, have changed as well.

In Italy they are and should remain the tartlets you buy in a pastry shop, or better, in your favourite baker’s shop, round or softly oval, wrapped in a paper towel. They are supposed to be eaten standing up, perhaps with a coffee if you’re a grown-up or with a thick pear juice if you are a child, they are covered with icing sugar, that icing sugar that will inevitably dust your best dress in sweetness in the most important morning of your life.

Here in London, in the foodblogger headquarters, where any excuse is good to take new pictures or experiment a new combination, we played around with flavours and presentation. No icing sugar but a spoonful of thick greek yogurt and a drizzle of raspberry sauce, cooked with just a hint of sugar, to add a nice tart note. It goes well with our plans for tomorrow and a cup of Earl Grey.

Now you are spoilt for choice on how to serve these subtle lemon scented rice pudding tartlets, I already tried and tested the recipe for you!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Lemon scented Italian rice pudding tartlets
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert, Tart
Serves: 16
You'll need
For the rice pudding:
  • 1 l of whole milk
  • 300 g of pudding rice
  • 1 tablespoon of organic vanilla essence or 1 vanilla bean
  • zest of one organic lemon
  • 6 tablespoons of raw cane sugar
  • 8 g of baking powder
  • 2 free range eggs
For the short pastry shells:
  • 200 g of organic plain flour
  • 100 g organic whole rice flour
  • 150 g of raw cane sugar
  • 150 g of butter
  • 8 g of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 free range egg
How to make it
  1. First thing first, let’s make the shortcrust pastry. Sieve the plain flour with the rice flour and mix them with the raw cane sugar, the salt and the baking powder. Add the diced butter and rub all the ingredients with your fingertips as to make soft crumbles, just as grated Parmesan cheese.
  2. Beat the egg in a bowl, then add it to the crumbles and keep rubbing the ingredients with your fingertips until you have a nice and smooth ball of dough. If you have rubbed throughly the butter and the flour it will take only a few minutes and you won't overheat the pastry, which will eventually be crumbly and light. Flatten the dough ball with your hands, wrap it in clingfilm and let it rest in the fridge.
  3. Now pour the milk in a large thick-bottomed pot and bring it to the simmer with the lemon peel and the vanilla pod. When it starts simmering, add the pudding rice and let it cook completely (it will depend on the kind of rice you chose: it must be throughly cooked, soft and sticky). Mine took about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar. Let it cool down completely.
  5. When the rice is cold, mix in 2 egg yolks, the baking powder and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Whip the egg whites and fold them gently into the rice pudding.
  6. Preheat oven to 170°C.
  7. Roll the pastry with a rolling pin on a floured surface in a 5 mm thick sheet and line 16 muffin moulds. The fastest way to make it and have regular and nice pastry shells is to cut out some pastry discs with a glass as big as the bottom of the muffin mould and press them gently in. Then cut with a knife some pastry strips to line the sides of the muffin mould. Press the pastry lightly with your fingers to seal the bottom with the side stripes.
  8. Spoon the rice pudding into the pastry shells and bake for about 40 minutes(25 minutes will be enough in a fan oven) until the rice tartlets will be golden brown on the edges.
  9. Serve them warm or cold, with a dusting of icing sugar or some fresh fruit and yoghurt.


Behind the scenes

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33 Responses to “Mum, could you buy me a rice tartlet? The Italian rice pudding tartlets”

  1. Zita said:

    Oh, we have something very similar in Hungary. We only bake your rice pudding recipe without the short pastry. These photos are so beautiful, especially I like the RED raspberry sauce. I also love the behind the scene photos!

    I wish I could be there with you girls, only 1 day!!! Please! :)

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  2. Rosa said:

    I’ve never heard of those Italian tartlets before, but I really love the idea! What an interesting and delicious treat. In Switzerland, we have something very similar which is baked for Easter.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  3. Roger Stowell said:

    Those tartlets look amazing – I have to make them just to taste them. Beautiful pics.

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  4. Domestic Executive said:

    You had me on the rice pudding but the story about San Gimignano which I have visited only once whilst holidaying in Montepulciano nailed this as something I can really relate to. Look forward to being able to try these out.

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  5. Maja said:

    Few months ago I tried something similar. I loveto combine rice and rasperries! These looks so gorgeous, so for me! Thank you!

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  6. Kiri W. said:

    I looove rice pudding, and the idea of a tartlet is utter genius. How I want one! :)

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  7. The Food Hunter said:

    Never heard of these before but would love to try them sometime

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  8. Eliot said:

    These look wonderful. I would have asked for them too.

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  9. Regula said:

    Love this, you took me to the streets of San Gimignano with your words!
    I’m looking forward to visiting it :)
    Enjoy London!

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  10. movita beaucoup said:

    What a perfect morning post. Lovely photos, lovely commentary. Sigh…

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  11. Emiko said:

    Beautiful! Love the behind the scenes shots and LOVE the sound of yogurt and raspberries to tart up the old favourite tart! :)

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  12. Sezgi Uygur said:

    Lovely post! I moved to Rome a couple of years ago, can you write the italian name of rice tartlets? Is it tortino di riso?

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    Juls @ Juls' Kitchen Risposta:

    Hi Sezgim they actually have different names, like budini di riso, risini, risottini, tortini di riso… I’m confident you can find them in Rome!

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  13. Ola said:

    Last summer I spent two woderful (!!!) weeks very close to San Gimignano, it’s the place I do LOVE!!! I’m going to prepare the tartlets but I’m not able to buy that special pudding rice here. Is that rice similar to the risotto rice?

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    Giulia Risposta:

    Hi Ola, actually it is quite the opposite, it should tend to melt, to give a soft and creamy texture!

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  14. Beth Michelle said:

    I have never had this before and feel like I am soooo missing out! These look incredible.

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  15. Yvonne said:

    These so remind me of the ones on sale in Florence, but your are so much better.

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  16. Stephanie said:

    I’m a newcomer to your blog through arttrav and I’m very excited to try some of your recipes. Growing up in Canada we did not eat rice pudding tartlets. These look great! I hope I can find the correct rice!!

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    Giulia Risposta:

    Hi Stephanie, nice to meet you! Happy to welcome here! Just go for a rice that will get soft when cooking, and the result will be perfect! all the best!

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    Stephanie Risposta:

    Thanks, Giulia! Your space is beautiful and your passion for what you do very inspiring. I will try. I am excited to make these for my boyfriend (who is Italian and a definite foodie) when we are together back in Florence in the spring. I must practise beforehand!

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    Giulia Risposta:

    Brilliant!!

  17. Sara said:

    Rice pudding in a tart crust–what could be better–oh, drizzling with a raspberry coulis. Wow! Giulia, your blog continues to inspire!

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  18. Savory rice tartlets with smoked bacon and cheese - Juls' Kitchen | Juls' Kitchen said:

    [...] the recipe for the savory rice tartlets, a variation of one of my favorite recipes, the sweet rice tartlets of my childhood. These were born as an idea for a picnic: in a comfortable Parmesan and paprika [...]

  19. Michele said:

    Thank you so much!! I went to exactly the same shop when i was on tour in italy a few years ago and had one of these heavenly tarts<3 and with everything else i experienced i ave not been able to forget these tarts…. i have been trying to find out how to make them!! Yah!

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    Giulia Risposta:

    so happy!! now you can make the same tartlets and enjoy them!

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    Michele Risposta:

    Sweet memories of Italy here in Australia <3 now i can share part of my experience! I still cant believe i found your recipe!!!thanks again Giulia

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  20. Sweet rice tartlets | pizzarossa said:

    [...] recipe is very slightly adapted from another of my favourite food blogs, Juls’ Kitchen. The original is slightly lemony, with a lemon peel being heated in the milk for the rice, but I [...]

  21. Amanda said:

    Thank you so much for this recipe and the beautiful photos. You’re very talented!

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  22. Teresa Bajandas said:

    Back in the ’70s, while doing my apprenticeship with Emilio Pucci in Florence, I would have 2 of these rice tarts while standing at the bar of Gilli in Piazza della Repubblica with one too many espressos. I will never forget the pleasant gustatory experience these little comfort bites provided. Periodically, they come to mind and I always wished I had the recipe. Being more aggressive and with the help of the internet, of course, I came across yours, can’t tell you how thrilled I am. I will soon be making a batch and time traveling back to Firenze.
    Thanks!

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    Giulia Risposta:

    Hi Teresa, I am so happy and proud you found this recipe, I hope you’ll love it as I do!
    Have a good travel back to Florence!

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  23. C. Brown said:

    In settembre, what would you suggest for the fruit? Or would you suggest another topping – or just the powdered sugar?

    Also, would you mind naming some rice types that would work? Alas, all I have on hand is some arborio (which you said wouldn’t work), jasmine, basmati, and some ordinary long grain…

    Grazie in advance.

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    Giulia Risposta:

    Ciao! I’d stick to powdered sugar, the most classic topping, but if you like something to scoop on your tartlets, try with apple compote, or some apples browned in butter and sugar with lemon zest.
    As for the rice, here in Italy we use Originario, but any good pudding rice would work perfectly. Otherwise try with ordinary long grain, but I’m not sure you’ll have the same result.
    Let me know about the results!

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  24. Occhi di bue, cookies so big you can hold them with two hands | Juls' Kitchen said:

    […] with the locals, so I was allowed to choose something sweet from the counter. Whether still warm rice tartlets or occhi di bue, short pastry was always a […]

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