This recipe came about by happy accident.
Maybe not such a happy accident at the time as it was intended to be Cherry Almond rice pudding to serve for dessert at a dinner party; but I used too much rice and there was nothing pudding about it. Thankfully I had some refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough in the fridge, so I served warm cookies for dessert.
I was going to discard this rice concoction but when I tasted it, it was just so darned yummy that I couldn’t throw it out. As I racked my brain about what to make with my delicious mess the thought of Arancini jumped into my head and almost knocked me over.
Arnacini are balls of rice that are breaded and fried and they’re usually served as a savory appetizer.
In my mind, you can take anything and fry it and it will taste even better. Deep fried bananas…good, deep fried ice cream…yum, deep fried cheese cake…mmm mmm, deep fried cherry & almond rice pudding with a cherry surprise in the center…amaze balls (amazing rice balls that is)!
|These little guys are pretty filling, so I recommend serving one or two per person.|
Here’s what you do.
These Arancini are basically fried rice pudding.
Start by combining the milk, sugar, salt, and dried cherries in a 3 quart sauce pan.
Put the pan on the stove between medium and medium high heat.
Bring it to a simmer, but don't boil.
|Once the milk comes to a simmer turn the heat to low and cook, covered for 20 minutes.|
|Add some vanilla and almond extracts to the cooked rice.|
Remove it to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and cool in the refrigerator.
Because I had intended to make rice pudding, I put it in the refrigerator overnight, but it really only needs to be cool enough to handle.
|When your ready to mold the rice; keep a bowl of water near by, wet your hands to keep the rice from sticking to them.|
|To make the rice balls, scoop about enough rice to be golf ball size, flatten it into a disk...|
|...and then cup your hand to make a rice cup...|
|...Put a teaspoon of cherry preserves in the center...|
|...and then close the top...|
Roll into nice round shapes, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour; there may be some weeping from the cherry preserves, blot the bottom of the rice balls on a paper towel to absorb any moisture.
Now let's make the rice balls Arancini!
|Pulse some blanched, slivered almonds in a food processor until they are the consistency of bread crumbs.|
|In a shallow dish combine the almonds with some plain bread crumbs and sugar.|
Also whisk together a couple of eggs with a little water, and mix some flour with 1/4 tsp. of salt.
This is your breading assembly line.
Now is a good time to put the oil on to heat between medium and medium high heat. The oil needs to be 2 inches deep and should not be more than half way up the side of the pan. I like to heat the oil to 365 or 370 degrees.
Continue with breading the Arancini.
The first step is to roll the rice ball in flour, being sure to remove any excess flour...
|Next coat it with egg wash...|
|...And finally cover the Arancini completely in the bread crumb mixture. Place on a clean platter or sheet pan while you repeat the process.|
When the oil is the correct temperature, add 3 or 4 Arancini to the oil.
Please don't over crowd the pan as the oil should not drop below 350 degrees.
If the temperature drops to low you will have greasy Arancini, and nobody wants that!
|Move the Arancini around a little so that it browns evenly, this only takes about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.|
|Remove the Arancini to a platter or sheet pan that has a layer of paper towel to absorb any excess oil.|
You may serve the Arancini hot or at room temperature, and they're mighty tasty just the way they are...but if you like to guild the lily then go ahead and make this luscious chocolate sauce.
Put some heavy cream on to heat with a little instant espresso powder, do this over medium heat.
The cream only needs to get hot, you don't want it to boil.
|Meanwhile, break the chocolate into small pieces and put them in a heat proof bowl along with a couple of tablespoons of light corn syrup.|
This is when I got a phone call and forgot to take a picture of the heated cream being added to the chocolate.
|So go ahead and whisk or stir the heavy cream into the chocolate until the consistency is smooth.|
|And pour the chocolate sauce over your Arancini, or dunk them if you prefer!|
CHERRY ALMOND ARANCINI with CHOCOLATE DIPPING SAUCE
Makes 15 or 16 Arancini
FOR THE RICE
4 cups Milk, 2 % or whole
2/3 cup Basmati rice
2/3 cup Sugar
½ cup Dried cherries
¼ tsp. Salt
1 ½ tsp. Vanilla extract
½ tsp. Almond extract
5 Tbsp. Cherry preserves
1. In a 3 quart sauce pan combine the milk, rice, sugar, dried cherries and salt. Bring to a simmer, stirring a couple of times, over heat that is between medium and medium high. Once it comes to a simmer, turn the heat down to low and cook with the lid on for 20 minutes.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.
3. Pour the rice into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and cool completely in the refrigerator. It doesn’t have to be super cold but cool enough to handle.
4. Once the rice is cooled, form the rice into a golf ball sized ball (I used a slightly heaped 1 ½ oz. scoop). Flatten the ball out in the palm of your hand to make a disk, now cup your hand so that the rice makes a cup, put a teaspoon of cherry preserves in the center and close the top. Roll the rice in your palms to make a perfect ball. Place on a sheet pan and repeat to make 15 or 16 rice balls; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the rice balls for at least an hour; there may be a little weeping from the preserves, just dry the bottoms of the rice balls with a clean paper towel before coating them.
Note: You can make the rice pudding a day before.
FOR THE ARANCINI
½ cup Blanched slivered almonds
¾ cup Plain bread crumbs
1 ½ Tbsp. Sugar
2 Tbsp. Water
¾ cup All-purpose flour
¼ tsp. Salt
Light olive oil, or grape seed oil for frying
1. In a food processor pulse the almonds until they’re consistency of bread crumbs.
2. In a shallow dish combine the processed almonds, bread crumbs and sugar.
3. In another shallow dish whisk together the eggs and water.
4. In yet another shallow dish combine the flour and salt.
5. The frying oil will need to be a depth of 2 inches, so choose a pan where the oil will come less than half way up the sides. I like a Dutch oven. Clip a candy/frying thermometer onto the side of the pan. Heat the oil over heat between medium and medium high.
6. While the oil is heating coat the rice balls. Start by coating a ball of rice with flour, being sure to shake off the excess, then coat in the egg wash, and finally in the bread crumbs, place on a clean sheet pan or platter, repeat until all they’re all coated. Now you have arancini.
7. I like to heat the oil to between 365 and 370 degrees because I don’t want the oil temperature to drop below 350 degrees. Add a few of the arancini into the oil (a spider works well for this) being sure not to over crowd the pan. Cook for about 1 ½ minutes, turning the arancini over a couple of times to achieve even cooking. When the arancini are a deep golden brown on all sides remove them to a dish that has a layer of paper towel.
Arancini can be eaten hot or at room temperature, but are really best served the same day that they are cooked.
Serve plain or with Chocolate Dipping Sauce.
FOR THE CHOCOLATE DIPPING SAUCE
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 tsp. Instant espresso powder (optional)
8 oz. Chocolate (milk or dark), in bar form (not chocolate chips)
2 Tbsp. Light corn syrup
1. Combine the heavy cream and instant espresso powder in a medium sauce pan. Heat the cream over medium heat, do not boil.
2. Meanwhile, break the chocolate into small pieces into a heat proof, medium bowl, and add the corn syrup as well.
3. When the cream is hot, add it to the bowl with the chocolate and whisk until smooth.
Serve as a dipping sauce, or over ice cream.
Leftovers can be refrigerated, but will need to be reheated; a touch of cream may be needed to thin it out.
You may also like:
|Chocolate Chip & Peanut Butter Cookie Sandwiches|
|Lemon Cream Cheese & Berry Turnovers|