skip to Main Content

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

How I like San Gimignano in the early morning, when the tourists are not crowding its medieval alleys, when you see the locals passing along the streets almost incredulous to have San Gimignano all for themselves, even just for a few more minutes. I like it when the footsteps echo on the cobbled streets, resounding between the high walls of the houses.

Rice pudding tartlets

I like the grey colour of the stones, especially when the gentle early Spring rain has just washed them. 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?

Italian Rice pudding tartlets

The lemon-scented rice pudding tartlets of my childhood

The subtly lemon-scented rice pudding tartlets were my favourite sweet treat as a child, whether bought by my mum on a common Saturday when we went to visit my granddad Remigio, who lived there, or by my aunt Silvana in the 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 a basic recipe and working on it.

Italian rice pudding tartlets: the recipe

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 my rice pudding tartlets again 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. We usually eat them 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 on the most important morning of your life.

Italian Rice pudding tartlets

Here in London, in the food blogger headquarters, where any excuse is good to take new pictures or experiment with a new combination, we played around with flavours and presentation. No icing sugar but a spoonful of thick greek yoghurt 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!

Lemon-scented Italian rice pudding tartlets

5 from 5 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian, Tuscan
Servings 16 tartlets


For the rice pudding:

  • 1 l whole milk
  • 300 grams pudding rice
  • 1 tablespoon organic vanilla essence, or 1 vanilla bean
  • zest of one organic lemon
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 8 grams baking powder
  • 2 free-range eggs

For the short pastry shells:

  • 200 grams all-purpose flour
  • 100 grams rice flour
  • 150 grams sugar
  • 150 grams butter
  • 8 grams baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 free-range egg
Stay Hungry with our Newsletter!Subscribe to Letters from Tuscany and receive blog updates, new stories and exclusive recipes.


  • 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, salt and baking powder. Add the diced butter and rub all the ingredients with your fingertips to make soft crumbles, just as grated Parmesan cheese.
  • 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 the butter and the flour thoroughly, 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.
  • Now pour the milk into a large thick-bottomed pot and bring it to a 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 thoroughly cooked, soft and sticky). Mine took about 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar. Let it cool down completely.
  • 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.
  • Preheat oven to 170°C / 350°F.
  • 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.
  • Spoon the rice pudding into the pastry shells and bake for about 40 minutes (25 minutes will be enough in a convection oven) until the rice tartlets will be golden brown on the edges.
  • Serve them warm or cold, with a dusting of icing sugar or some fresh fruit and yoghurt.
Order now the Cucina Povera Cookbook100 recipes to celebrate the italian way of transforming humble ingredients into unforgettable meals. ORDER NOW!

Italian Rice pudding tartlets

More rice pudding cakes from the blog archive

  • The Tuscan rice pudding cake of my childhood. Mum loves the central part of the cake, coated with melted sugar, I prefer the shortcrust pastry shell instead, crumbly and orange-scented. What I’m going to show you is not the canonical procedure to make shortcrust pastry, but this is how we usually make it at home since I can remember.
  • Farro and ricotta tart. Properly not with rice, this cake is so similar to a rice pudding cake, but made with farro. You can bake it as an afternoon snack, though it would be hard to resist a slice of this tart even for breakfast, or at the end of a family meal on a Sunday. Instead of chocolate, or along with it, you can add raisins soaked in dessert wine, or some candied orange peel.

Behind the scenes

Italian Rice pudding tartlets  Italian Rice pudding tartlets

Sharing is caring:

This Post Has 38 Comments

  1. 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! 🙂

  2. 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.



  3. 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.

  4. 5 stars
    Few months ago I tried something similar. I loveto combine rice and rasperries! These looks so gorgeous, so for me! Thank you!

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

  6. Beautiful! Love the behind the scenes shots and LOVE the sound of yogurt and raspberries to tart up the old favourite tart! 🙂

  7. 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?

  8. 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!!

    1. 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!

      1. 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!

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

  10. 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!

      1. 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

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

  12. 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.

    1. 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!

  13. 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.

    1. 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!

  14. 5 stars
    You had me at rice pudding. I know i will love playing with this recipe for a rustic tea.

  15. Dear Giulia, these look amazing, I can´t wait to try them! Do you think it is possible to make a batch and freeze them for later? Or do they keep fresh for a few days? Thank you so much in advance 🙂

    1. Hi Clara, I am sure you will love them! You can freeze them for later, and quickly defrost them in a hot oven.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back To Top