SGCC Encore: Torta di Riso for Easter

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Torta-collage-web

Any of you food bloggers out there remember when you first started out  and couldn’t take a decent photo to save your life? Okay, maybe some of you already could take great pictures when you started your blogs, but I was not one of you! When I go back and look at some of those old posts, I cringe.  Really!  I am utterly mortified by some of those photos.

The other day, I was typing up some recipes for a baking class I’m doing on Friday.  The class will be focused on Easter treats and we’ll be making my Torta di Riso and Pizza Rustica recipes.  Anyway, I was looking for a picture of each pie to go along with the recipes, and I was appalled to find that I did not have one decent picture of my Torta di Riso.  Not. One.  So, this morning I made another pie.  And, I took lots of pictures.  And, a few of them even turned out halfway decent.

Therefore, in an effort to redeem myself in my own eyes (because you are all much too kind to tell me my pictures suck), I present for the second time, Torta di Riso.

torta-di-riso-4b

Torta di Riso is a rich and creamy egg and ricotta based dessert pie filled filled with cooked Arborio rice and delicately flavored with the essence of orange.  Think of it as rice pudding in a crust. In Italian culture, it is traditionally served after Mass on Easter Sunday to “break the Fast” observed by orthodox Catholics during Lent.

Most versions of this torta rely on a traditional pastry pie crust to provide its structure. I use layers of phyllo dough in mine for a few reasons, the first being that I find phyllo is more user friendly for the “doughaphobes” among us.  There is no mixing, pulsing or rolling involved.  You just thaw out the package and use the phyllo sheets as is.  (Remember to keep them covered with a damp cloth while you work, though, so that the sheets don’t dry out.)   Second, the phyllo crust bakes up shatteringly crispy and buttery.  There is no risk of ending up with a soggy base for your torta – which is a very good thing.

torta-di-riso-3

You must make sure you use the right kind of rice for your torta di riso. Uncle Ben’s or Minute Rice will not do!  You need a starchy, creamy short grain rice like Arborio, which is the main ingredient in risotto dishes.  I also use a rich, dense specialty ricotta called Ricotta Impastata that I get from a local Italian market.  If you can find some, grab it. It really makes a difference in the texture of this pie. If not, drain your regular whole milk ricotta overnight in some cheesecloth over a bowl to get rid of the extra liquid.

Here’s another trick I learned from Dorie.  To enhance the orange flavor in the filling, mix the sugar and orange zest together in a small bowl and rub them together with your fingers.  The friction will release the oils in the zest and flavor the sugar as well. (Your hands will smell great too!) Then, add them to the rest of the filling ingredients.

torta-di-riso-5

For those of you who never saw my first post on Torta di Riso, I hope you enjoy this one. I did a little tweaking of the recipe and I think it’s even better this way.  For those of you who do remember my earlier post and are bored, just look at the pictures! ;)

Enjoy!

38 responses to SGCC Encore: Torta di Riso for Easter

  1. On March 24, 2010 at 10:37pm, Joanne said...

    My older photos could definitely use some sprucing up. One of these days….

    This looks like a gorgeous pie! My family always gets grain pie on easter, which is maybe similar to this? But certainly doesn’t seem as tasty. I’m going to have to convert them to this. Possibly this easter. It looks amazing.

    • On March 25, 2010 at 9:45am, Susan said...

      Thanks! :) This torta is very similar to the grain pie. I also make a version using wheat or barley in a traditional crust.

  2. On March 24, 2010 at 10:45pm, Tangled Noodle said...

    Oh my. This is tremendous! It’s 3 desserts in one – pie, custard, and rice pudding! Heaven, just heaven.

    • On March 25, 2010 at 9:47am, Susan said...

      :D

  3. On March 24, 2010 at 10:48pm, Sook @ My Fabulous Recipes said...

    This looks like a great recipe! yum!

  4. On March 24, 2010 at 11:09pm, amy said...

    You’re recipes always looks just so amazing!! I do not doubt it tastes delicious! I gotta put this in my files to make one of these days. ; )

  5. On March 25, 2010 at 12:23am, Kirsten said...

    I love phyllo (just wrote a post on it) and I love ricotta pies! This will be tried very soon, thanks so much for revisiting it and bringing it to my attention!

  6. On March 25, 2010 at 1:33am, Memoria said...

    You’re right. These photos ARE beautiful!!! I like the process-photo collage, too!! Beautiful!

  7. On March 25, 2010 at 1:40am, nina said...

    I think I will have to re=post quite a few of my earlier recipes to redeem myself. I have not seen this, so I am over the moon. This is somehow in the same line as our milk tart, just way way better. I love the idea of phyllo her, Susan!!!

    • On March 25, 2010 at 9:48am, Susan said...

      Nina, I have never seen a bad photo on your site! :)

  8. On March 25, 2010 at 3:45am, Manggy said...

    Whatatatatat?! (uh, that’s an echo…) Should I feel bad that I even like the original pics? You’re too hard on yourself, Susan, but hey, if it gets us a new torta di riso for today and a nice pic to go with it too, then I won’t complain :)

    • On March 25, 2010 at 9:50am, Susan said...

      You’re sweet, Mark! :) But, there are some real clunkers in my earliest posts! I hope to revisit several more in the upcoming months.

  9. On March 25, 2010 at 3:49am, Rosa said...

    Perfect for Easter and so delicious looking!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  10. On March 25, 2010 at 4:37am, laura said...

    Still attempting to redeem even today’s pictures- :D

    Beautiful as usual Susan!!

  11. On March 25, 2010 at 8:06am, Ciaochowlinda said...

    I don’t know what your first shots looked like, but these are very very tempting. Makes me want to cook a torta di riso today.

    • On March 25, 2010 at 9:51am, Susan said...

      So, what are you waiting for? Go for it! ;)

  12. On March 25, 2010 at 10:08am, foodcreate said...

    Perfect for entertaining can’t wait to try … delicious :)

  13. On March 25, 2010 at 10:25am, justine said...

    wow this looks wonderful and tasty!

  14. On March 25, 2010 at 11:02am, Rachel (S[d]OC) said...

    I’m still embarassed about the bad qualilty of the photos in my blog, but I’m too lazy to learn the settings on my camera and I haven’t put in the time investment for better equipment like a light box. My husband has the idea that we should self-publish a cookbook for my family, and he will take the photos and get proper equipment for food photography for it, but he has other priorities right now.

    Love your torta. I also love your easter pie. You pack way more meat into yours than I do for mine. That’s because there are too many wimps in my family. (Does that sound a little dirty?)

  15. On March 25, 2010 at 12:10pm, SMITH BITES said...

    oh my – another fantastic post! Susan, I think I should just quit now and cook from your posts!!! Love the pics AND the torta – can I make this whenever??? please, pretty please say yes?????

  16. On March 25, 2010 at 12:29pm, bellini valli said...

    This sounds like such a special dessert for the holidays. I will definitely bookmark this although I am usually eating cheesecake at Easter.

  17. On March 25, 2010 at 2:09pm, 5 Star Foodie said...

    Wow, this looks absolutely heavenly and something I would definitely like to try!

  18. On March 25, 2010 at 2:26pm, grace said...

    how exquisite and fanciful! :)
    phyllo dough is something i consider to be a magical ingredient, and it’s perfect for this amazing treat. really excellent post, susan!

  19. On March 25, 2010 at 2:41pm, Gina said...

    This looks awesome !!! I definately want to make this but I have a question about the orange flower water. Is there something else I can substitute for that ? I would love to make this for Easter so if you could let me know as soon as possible, I would really appreciate it. I love your recipes they are fantastic. Thanks

  20. On March 25, 2010 at 7:37pm, Pat said...

    This looks fabulous, Susan!

    More often than not I don’t take out the “big” camera for food shots — I use my every handy pocket camera/ Someday I’ll try to be more prepared :-)

  21. On March 25, 2010 at 8:35pm, joy the baker said...

    this is an absolutely gorgeous tart! it’s like rice pudding pie! i’m all over it! aaaand… great photos! ;)

  22. On March 26, 2010 at 8:43pm, The Italian Dish said...

    Beautiful photos, Susan! Great recipe.

  23. On March 26, 2010 at 9:06pm, Kevin (Closet Cooking) said...

    That looks so creamy and good!

  24. On March 26, 2010 at 9:13pm, ingrid said...

    Seriously? You’re kidding right? I’ve not seen one bad photo here. Not one. Now pass me a slice!!
    Please?!

    Happy Friday!
    ~ingrid

  25. On March 27, 2010 at 7:37pm, marcellina said...

    Great rice pie! I made something similar based on a recipe my Calabrian cousin sent me which contained “grain” as I see you have mentioned in one of the comments. In my part of the world I couldn’t get grain so I use rice. I also couldn’t get orange flower water which I think may have made it more fragrant. But your tip about the orange rind and the sugar is great. I may have to try it again!

  26. On March 29, 2010 at 11:55am, Claudia Dunitz said...

    Your Torta was SO gorgeous, I just had to. I made it yesterday morning. It was so beautiful and delicious we ate some for lunch. We had slices for breakfast this morning, and we’ll have more for dessert tonight. And I’m making another for Easter. Thank you for posing the recipe and your beautiful, wonderfully inspiring photos!

  27. On March 31, 2010 at 10:32am, Jenni said...

    Doughaphobes! Ha!

    This is beautiful–I can almost taste it now. Creamy, dreamy, rice-y, custard-y goodness. I’m glad you made it again, because I missed this the first time around!

  28. On March 31, 2010 at 6:24pm, Chez Us said...

    Hi Susan,

    I have been MIA and definitely missing out on some drool worthing hip smacking goodness over here at SGCC! I am hunting down a dessert for Easter and I am proud to say, this is in the finalist line-up – sounds amazing!!!

    By the way, great post. I, too, cringe when I go through old posts – photos I thought were good, really are not!!

  29. On March 31, 2010 at 6:26pm, Maria said...

    Love this Susan! Your photos are amazing like always!

  30. On April 01, 2010 at 12:09pm, Esmeralda said...

    Love Love Love the new look to your Blog!!!! I can assure your readers that it is you on the Masthead!!!!!!! The food photos are spectacluar!
    xoxox
    Ezzie

  31. On April 03, 2010 at 9:10pm, Gina said...

    I loved the picture so I had to make it for Easter.. I have two questions. In your directions you say It makes a 10in pie but you say to butter a 9in pie plate. Then when I made the recipe I was able to make 2 and 1/2 pies. I followed the recipe to a tee. Did I do something wrong? I can’t wait to try it tomorrow!!! Happy Easter!!

    Thanks, Gina

  32. On September 14, 2010 at 8:15am, christine said...

    I was wondering if I could use lemon instead or orange (my husband doesn’t like orange). I can replace the zest — but what about the orange water? Or can it be replaced with vanilla? Thanks for your help
    Christine

  33. On September 23, 2010 at 11:16am, christine said...

    One last question — do I store this torta in the frig?

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kiss the cook!

Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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