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How to Make Budino di Riso

Our Florence correspondent shares how to make this beloved Tuscan rice pudding pastry at home.

budino di riso

In most pastry shops of Florence and around much of Tuscany, you will find a delicate rice pudding known as the Budino di Riso.

These tiny pies of baked rice pudding in a buttery crust go beautifully with a morning cappuccino. They’re easy to serve since they require no slicing or plating, so you can eat them while shooting back an espresso at the local pasticceria or tuck one in your bag for a second breakfast on the run. Popular options are the round, short budino basso, or my favorite: the tall, oval budino alto. 

At home, many families prefer to make the easier, crust-less version that’s prepared in a baking dish. This more traditional budino di riso is sliced and served on plates and usually dusted with powdered sugar.

Making your own budino di riso at home is fairly simple. Once you smell the rice cooking in milk and the scent of lemon zest in the air, you’ll be anxious to taste it!

Be sure to try a slice when it has cooled down but is still slightly warm, and you’ll delight as the milk-infused rice melts in your mouth. That’s the magic moment.

Budino di Riso

Budino di Riso

4 from 7 votes
Recipe by Toni Mazzaglia
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs 2 unsalted butter (+ butter for the baking dish)

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 Arborio rice or any other risotto-worthy rice

  • 2 cups 2 milk (or use unsweetened oat milk or almond milk)

  • 1/3 cup 1/3 granulated sugar

  • 2 tsp 2 vanilla extract

  • 4 4 eggs: 2 whole eggs, plus two additional egg yolks (beaten)

  • 1 1 shot of Rum, Cognac, or Vin Santo

  • Zest of 1 organic lemon

  • 1 Cup 1 breadcrumbs

  • Powdered sugar

Directions

  • Grease baking pan with butter, then dust with breadcrumbs.
  • In a medium pot melt butter over low heat. 
  • Add all rice and stir for a minute or two.
  • Add the milk, lemon zest, sugar, and vanilla extract and simmer over low heat until the rice begins to soften (about 15 to 20 minutes). Note: The rice will not be entirely cooked, but don’t panic. There will still be a good deal of liquid and that is okay- since you will finish cooking the rice later in the oven, where it will absorb the rest of the milk. It will seem odd the first time you make it, but it all makes sense when your perfect budino comes out of the oven. (As with most desserts, better it is too moist than too dry).
  • Remove mixture from heat, stir in your chosen spirit (rum, vin santo, or cognac) and allow to cool.
  • Beat eggs well (till a bit foamy) in a small bowl while the rice is cooling.
  • Once the rice mixture is cool enough that the eggs won’t “cook,” fold in the beaten eggs.
  • Pour the mixture into your baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes. It should form a firm crust on top with a nice golden hue (poke with a toothpick to be sure it is firm, not runny).
  • Allow your baked budino to cool, but be sure to eat a slice while it is still a bit warm. This is no time for self-control!
  • Add a veil of powdered sugar when serving.

Notes

  • Pan-baked budino keeps better frozen than in the fridge or out on the counter. If you aren’t sharing your slices of budino, promptly freeze portions, wrapping them individually as soon as they have cooled down. Thaw and eat at room temperature or slightly heated, one piece at a time.

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