serves: 6 servings
Rice is commonly used to make desserts in Italy. It renders a flavor in the desserts that is typically Italian. These desserts are delicious when eaten warm sprinkled with a little powder sugar and even better when served with berries and whipped cream. If you like, you can go a little further and serve them with the chocolate sauce or a sauce made from fresh seasonal fruit, like strawberries, peaches or plums, whirled in the blender with a little sugar and lemon juice and then strained.
4 cups milk
⅔ cup arborio rice
¾ cup sugar
½ cup golden raisins
¼ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, separated
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for ramekins
Zest of 1 lemon, grated
fresh berries, optional
fresh mint, optional
In a medium-size, heavy saucepan, bring the milk, rice and 1/2 cup of the sugar to a simmer over medium heat. Cook the rice, stirring often, 10 minutes. Add the raisins and about half the salt and continue cooking, stirring often, until the rice is very tender and plump, about 20 minutes. The more milk the rice absorbs, the more important it becomes to stir the rice to prevent scorching. Remove the rice from the heat and cool completely.
Place a deep baking dish or roasting pan on the center rack of the oven and pour in enough warm water to fill it halfway. Preheat the oven to 425. Brush six 6-ounce ceramic ramekins or glass baking cups with olive oil. Coat the insides with bread crumbs, rotating the ramekins to coat the sides and bottoms evenly. Tap out the excess crumbs.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar until pale yellow and the mixture falls in thick ribbons from the beaters. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil and beat until thoroughly incorporated. Clean the beaters well and dry them. In a separate medium-size bowl, beat the egg whites with the remaining salt until they form stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted up.
Fold the cooled rice mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Add the lemon zest and mix well. Add about one fourth of the whites to the rice mixture and with a rubber spatula gently fold them in, scraping the rice mixture from the bottom of the bowl over the whites. Fold in the remaining whites in the same way.
Divide the rice mixture among the ramekins, the ramekins should be almost full. Carefully set the ramekins in the baking pan of water. Bake until the soufflés have risen above the sides of the ramekins and are a deep golden brown, about 35 minutes. Carefully remove the ramekins from the pan of water and let them stand 15 to 20 minutes. They may fall slightly, that is fine.
Run a thin-bladed knife around the inside edges of the ramekins. Invert the soufflés onto serving plates and top with whipped cream. Sprinkle the soufflés with confectioners' sugar and garnish with fresh berries or a sprig of fresh mint, if you like.