One of the best desserts you can eat in Bologna is the rice cake.
Its name and its look don't seem much appealing but, like the best of Bologna, you need to taste it to uncover its goodness.
A unique name for a unique cake: the legend of Torta degli Addobbi
Torta degli Addobbi is a sweet rice cake that was traditionally prepared during the namesake Festa degli Addobbi.
At that time of this Christian event, established in 1700 in Bologna, it was customary to show colored drapes (addobbi in Italian) at the windows, as a sign of appreciation.
On that occasion the houses of parishioners were open to visits by neighbors, acquaintances and guests to whom they offered this rice cake cut into small diamonds, each topped with a toothpick.
Artusi loved it, so do you?
"The science in the kitchen and the art of eating well" by local writer and gastronome Pellegrino Artusi is the most popular Italian cookbook.
790 recipes, collected by the author with passion after years of countless trips and published for the first time in 1891.
"The Artusi", as we call it, is the first and most famous Italian cookbook, the one from which all the great cooks of the last century have drawn inspiration and suggestions.
It's an unusual work that enhances the pleasure of eating well: more than a recipe book it's a book of taste, full of dissertations, ideas and funny comments about food. It makes you feel the warmth of a friendly conversation.
Recipe n°638 is Bolognese rice cake.
You will find only a few differences between this recipe and the others you will bump into Bologna's best bakeries (no liquor but bitter almonds).
Bolognese rice cake recipe
120 g Arborio rice
1 l of milk
150 g of sugar
100 g of candied citron
100 g of chopped almonds
grated lemon peel
1 shot of liquor (we usually use bitter almond liquor, but you can use rum or other)
- Boil the milk and add the rice, sugar and two grated lemon peel.
- Cook for 40/45 minutes, remove from heat and add the almonds, candied fruit and crumbled amaretti.
Leave the mixture to cool, stirring occasionally.
- In a bowl beat the eggs and add mixture cooled.
- Pour the mixture into a rectangular pan 20x25 cm, covered with foil and bake in a 150 degrees oven for 1,5h.
To check if it's ready, insert a toothpick in the middle of the cake. If it's dry you can remove it from the oven.
- Wet the surface freshly baked with the bitter almond liqueur. Allow cooling completely before removing from the mold.
- Cut into squares or diamonds.
Where to buy the rice cake in Bologna
Or try it joining one of our food tours in Bologna.
The rice cake can't be frozen so you have to eat it within 2/3 days and it’s almost impossible to take it home as a food souvenir.
However, this cake tastes even better freshly baked under the towers of Bologna.