750 ml water
100 g caster sugar
finely grated zest 1 orange
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 tbsp unsalted butter
250 g Arborio rice
150 g dark chocolate, cut into 12 small squares
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp milk
1 ½ cups dried breadcrumbs
grapeseed oil, for frying
icing sugar and caramel sauce or chocolate sauce, to serve (optional)
- Combine water, sugar, orange zest, cinnamon and vanilla bean paste in a medium heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then bring to a gentle boil. Boil for 6 minutes, then lower heat to a gentle simmer.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the arborio rice and toast, stirring constantly until the rice smells nutty, about 4 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low, then add a ladle of the flavoured water (avoiding the cinnamon stick) and stir until the water is absorbed by the rice. Repeat with the remaining water, only adding another ladle once the last has been absorbed and stirring frequently. It should take about 20 minutes to use all the water, but this will vary depending on your cooktop and the quality of the rice. To check if it’s cooked like a real Italian, you need to taste the rice – you should be able to feel a slight resistance from the pearl of grain when you bite through the centre (this is al dente).
- Transfer the sweet risotto to a large dish to cool. You can speed up the cooling by placing the mixture in the fridge – it will become easier to handle and stick together as it cools.
- Once cool, take a handful of rice in your palm (about 2 tablespoons) and make a depression in the middle. Add a square of chocolate to the centre and then wrap the rice around the chocolate and form into a ball. Repeat with remaining rice and chocolate.
- Combine the egg with the milk in a shallow bowl and place the breadcrumbs in another bowl. Dip each rice ball in the egg mixture, and then in the breadcrumbs, ensuring they are well coated.
- Heat oil in a medium heavy-based saucepan, ensuring it is no more than one-third full, until it is 170°C on a kitchen thermometer (or until a cube of bread sizzles on impact with the oil). Working in batches, cook the arancini for 4-5 minutes until they are golden brown on the outside. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
- Serve immediately as is or dusted with icing sugar and topped with a drizzle of caramel or chocolate sauce.