Nick Malgieri
Nick Malgieri

Swiss Easter Rice Tart

More commonly a pastry shop specialty than a dessert prepared by home cooks, this rice tart is popular throughout Switzerland. The key to getting the right consistency for the filling is to overcook the rice from the outset. It needs to become smooth and creamy in order to be pureed later on. The ground almonds add richness and flavor to this rice pudding baked in a crust. One 10-inch round tart, about 8 to 10 servings.

Pastry Dough

 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 10 pieces

3 tablespoons cold water

Rice Filling

1/2 cup long-grain rice, such as Carolina

3 cups milk

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

1/2 cup blanched almonds, finely ground in a food processor

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

3 large eggs

Confectioners' sugar for finishing

One 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom

  1. For the dough, combine the dry ingredients in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse several times to mix. Add the butter and pulse 3 to 4 times, until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Add the water and pulse only 3 to 4 times. The dough will not form a ball. Invert the dough to a floured surface and carefully remove the blade. Gently press and squeeze the dough together and form it into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour. You may keep the dough refrigerated for up to 2 days before continuing.
  2. For the rice filling, bring a large pan of water to a boil and add the rice. Stir occasionally until the water returns to a full rolling boil. Lower the heat to a low boil and cook the rice until it is very soft and the grains of rice split at the ends, about 15 minutes. Drain the rice, but do not rinse it.
  3. In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the cooked rice with the milk, sugar, butter, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Decrease heat to low and cook the rice until it has reduced and thickened, about 20 minutes. Cool the rice mixture and puree it in a food processor fitted with the metal blade.
  4. Pour the pureed rice into a bowl and stir in the lemon zest. In a separate bowl, combine the ground almonds and flour, then stir the almond-flour mixture into the rice. Stir in the eggs one at a time, stirring smooth after each addition.
  5. Set a rack in the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
  6. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a floured surface. Gently press the dough with a rolling pin in close parallel strokes to soften it. Roll the dough to a 12-inch disk. Fold the dough in half and transfer it to the pan, lining up the fold with the diameter of the pan. Unfold the dough into the pan and press it well into the bottom and sides of the pan. Use a bench scraper or the back of a knife to sever the excess dough at the rim of the pan.
  7. Pour the rice filling into the pan and smooth the top.
  8. Bake the tart until the dough is baked through and the filling is set and golden, about 35 minutes.
  9. Cool the tart on a rack.

Serving: Remove the side of the pan and slide the tart from the metal pan base to a platter. You may need to loosen the bottom of the tart with a long, thin spatula or knife. Dust the tart with confectioners' sugar immediately before serving.

Storage: Keep the tart at room temperature on the day it is baked. Wrap and refrigerate leftovers. Bring them to room temperature before serving again.