sweet arancini filled with concord grape jam

arancini dolci con marmellata all’uva

makes 16 pieces (8 to 10 servings)

A sweet take on a classic classic savory dish by pastry chef Karen DeMasco: sweet, milk-infused risotto surrounding a filling of grape jam and coated in sweetened bread crumbs gets fried like a donut to created a golden brown exterior. These are best served fresh and hot.  





 Line a small baking dish with parchment paper. Spoon 16 (3/4-teaspoonful) dollops of jam onto prepared baking dish. Freeze until firm, about 2 hours. 

Meanwhile, using a sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler, in wide, lengthwise strips, cut zest from 1 lemon, avoiding white pith. In a medium saucepan, combine zest, rice, vanilla bean and seeds, and bay leaf, if using. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture becomes fragrant, about 5 minutes.  
Add water and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is mostly absorbed, about 10 minutes. Add about half of the milk; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until liquid is mostly absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes. Add remaining milk and repeat process. When milk is mostly absorbed, add granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Continue cooking until mixture is very thick, about 10 minutes more. Remove from heat, add butter and stir until completely combined. Spread rice onto a large plate. Remove and discard lemon zest, vanilla bean and bay leaf, if using. Let rice cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then cover surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, about 45 minutes.
Put flour in a shallow bowl. In a second shallow bowl, whisk together egg, pinch granulated sugar and pinch salt. In a third shallow bowl, stir together breadcrumbs, Demerara sugar, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon salt. Line a large plate with paper towels. 
Fill a medium saucepan with 1 1/2inches oil; heat oil to 375º. While oil is heating, form chilled rice into 16 balls, then, using your thumb, make a deep indentation in the center of each. Gently press chilled jam into indentation, then form rice ball around jam, completely covering jam. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
In batches of 4, roll rice balls in flour, tapping off excess, then dip in egg wash. Dredge in breadcrumb mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Fry balls until lightly golden on all sides, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to prepared plate. Finely grate a little zest from remaining lemons over the top. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve immediately. 
Note: Vialone Nano rice can be purchased at specialty grocers, Italian food markets or by mail order at buonitalia.com; (212) 633-9090. Arborio rice can be substituted.