Creamy, crunchy, cheesy rice balls, arancini are the ultimate Italian street food that will be one of the first appetisers to disappear at any gathering.
This fancy-sounding dish gets its name from the Sicilian word for “oranges”, but instead of zest or juice, these little golden spheres are stuffed with perfectly cooked rice and melted cheese, coated with breadcrumbs and then deep fried.
They are the best snack, meal idea, or buffet addition and are so satisfying to eat. Biting into them is a dreamy combo of a crispy outside shell and a soft rice inside, plus that melting centre of mozzarella cheese really is the cherry on top.
Arancini balls with fun flavoured custard
Yield: 20 portions
1 cup arborio rice
1 litre Parmalat full cream milk
350g castor sugar
1 cinnamon quill
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs, separated, plus 2 whole eggs
1 tbs corn flour
300ml plus 250ml (for the filling) Parmalat custard
2 tbs gelatine powder
½ cup plain flour
1 cup breadcrumbs
Sunflower oil, to deep-fry
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Place rice, milk, ¾ cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low.
Add the cinnamon quill and half the vanilla essence. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, then remove the lid and simmer, stirring, for 20–30 minutes until rice is al dente.
Whisk yolks, and corn flour in a heatproof bowl until pale. Place 300ml Parmalat custard and remaining vanilla essence in a pan over medium heat. Bring to just below boiling point, then pour into egg mixture, whisking constantly.
Return to the pan and stir for 10 minutes or until thickened. Stir into arborio rice. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
Take 1 cup of Parmalat custard and put it in a pot, add dissolved gelatine (dissolve in 2 tablespoons cold water), add whatever flavour you like (vanilla, mint, rose, orange, anything) then pour the remaining custard on a tray to chill in the freezer.
Spread custard rice over a tray and chill in the freezer.
Place 1 heaped tablespoon of rice mixture in your hand and scoop 1 teaspoon of custard into the centre, then enclose with rice mixture to form a ball with custard in the centre.
Set aside, then repeat to make 20 arancini. Roll, roll, roll your balls! Chill for 15 minutes in the freezer to firm up. Place flour and breadcrumbs in separate bowls.
Whisk the remaining 2 egg whites and 2 eggs in a third bowl.
Dust each arancini in flour, then dip in egg and roll in crumbs. Repeat the egg and crumb layers once more. Chill for 15 minutes to firm up.
Fill the deep fryer with oil and heat to 170ºC. Combine ground cinnamon and remaining ½ cup sugar in a bowl. In batches, fry arancini for 2–3 minutes until golden. Roll in cinnamon sugar to coat – serve warm and delicious.