I don't know why I've been sitting on this recipe for so long. But let me tell you it is really delicious and a twist on your every day arancini (aka rice balls).
A few years back an arancini restaurant opened up near us. We were all about the balls covered in marinara, ooey gooey with cheese. But they were pretty pricey. You all know what that means. Figure out how to make them myself.
After making the traditional savory variety, I thought why not make a sweet version. Rice pudding surrounding a molten centre, a side of ice cream.... Mmmmm
Nutella was all the rage at the time, so of course we had to make a Nutella filled arancini. Then apple pie seemed like a natural choice rolled in cinnamon and sugar after frying. They came out looking like timbits (for our American friend, timbits are donut holes). After exploding balls I figured out that Nutella works better when it's frozen, and it makes it a lot easier to handle as well.
Cinnamon sugar apple pie filled arancini
This weekend my eldest declared out of the blue that we should make s'mores rice balls! Who am I to stifle such creativity.
The directions are pretty simple. First you make your rice pudding, spread it in a pan to chill in the fridge. You will also need egg wash graham crumbs and some plain bread crumbs. I complained when my husband bought plain bread crumbs instead of the italian seasoned... but they came in handy on this occasion.
Place about 2 tbs of the cooled rice pudding in your hand and make a ball. With your thumb press in a hole and spread the rice pudding out so you have more of a bowl shape in your palm like so.
The finished product should be about the size of a tangerine.
Now fill your rice pudding with whatever filling you'd like. For s'mores I used 4 chocolate chips, 3 marshmallows and another 3-4 chocolate chips on top. Now's the tricky part. Try to close the sides back in to a ball around your filling. You might find it easier to grab a bit more pudding to flatten out and add on top. Roll in to a ball. Roll in graham crumbs to coat, then coat in egg wash, then roll in a mixture of half and half bread crumbs and graham crumbs. I found the graham crumbs alone did not give them a crispy outer layer. Fry the rice balls in oil at about 325 degrees until they are a golden brown.
Cherry Cheese Cake Arancini
Other filling options:
Nutella- place 1 rounded teaspoon on parchment paper and freeze before stuffing
Apple pie filling - you can freeze this as well, I didn't. Roll in cinnamon sugar mixture immediately after frying
S'mores - mini marshmallow and chocolate chips
Cherry cheese cake- mix cream cheese with powdered sugar to your desired sweetness. Stuff with 1/2 tsp of cream cheese and 1/2 teaspoon of cheery pie filling
Blueberry crumble- Add some rolled oats in with the breadcrumbs and stuff with blueberry pie filling
Caramel- Stuff with a caramel square
PB&J- Haven't tried this one yet, but it's next on our list. 1/2 tsp peanut butter & 1/2 tsp favorite jam or jelly
Use your favorite recipe, but decrease the liquid by about 1/2 cup so your rice pudding has a thicker consistency like risotto.
2.5 cups of milk (or non dairy substitute like coconut milk, almond milk)
3/4 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom
In a heavy saucepan over medium high heat combine ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered and stirring frequently for approximately 25 mins. Remove from heat, place on a cookie sheet or baking pan and refrigerate until cool and thickened.
Sweet Balls in my mouth (seriously get your minds out of the gutter!)