Apricot and Tuaca Risotto ►
This creamy dessert blends familiar spices — nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon — with Tuaca, a premium liqueur that has a brandy-like essence with overtones of vanilla and orange. The pine nut garnish continues the Tuscan flavors.
- Chocolate Lace
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate - 4 ounces
- Bittersweet Chocolate - 4 ounces
- Kataifi (Shredded Phyllo) - 1 pound
- Canola oil - for deep frying
- Apricots - 3 cups,fresh, peeled (alt. canned apricots))
- Water - 2 quarts
- Lemon Juice - 1 tablespoon
- Unsalted Butter - 5 tablespoons
- Arborio Rice - 2 cups
- Nutmeg - 1/4 teaspoon, freshly grated
- Ginger - 1/2 teaspoon, freshly grated
- Cinnamon - 1 teaspoon, freshly grated
- Tuaca Liqueur - 1/2 cup
- Sugar - 1/4 cup
- Mascarpone Cheese - 1/2 cup
- Pine Nuts - 1-1/2 cups toasted (see Basics)
- Caramel Sauce - 1 cup (see Basics)
- Raspberries - 1 pint, fresh
To make the chocolate lace: Spread heavy plastic or foil on a large baking sheet. In the top of a double-boiler over barely simmering water, melt the semi-sweet chocolate. Keep it slightly warm while melting the bittersweet chocolate in the same way. Put the chocolates in separate pastry bags fitted with small plain tips. Pipe the semi-sweet chocolate in an open weave design, using a diagonal stroke. Then pipe the bittersweet chocolate on top of the semi-sweet chocolate, criss-crossing the open diagonal weave. Let cool until the shine is gone, then freeze until firmly set. Break into 8 large pieces.
To make the kataifi garnish: Heat the oil to 360 F in a large deep-fryer or large deep saucepan. Pull the kataifi into eight bundles. Grasp one end in your hand and press together tightly; lift the bundle and shake gently to open out the other end. Carefully lower the bundle into the hot oil, brushy end first, and fry until golden, about 30 seconds. Lift out by grasping the pressed end with tongs, and lay on paper towels to drain. Let the oil return to temperature and repeat with the other bundles. Set aside until ready to use.
To make the risotto: Cut the apricots into 3/4- to 1-inch pieces. In a large saucepan, combine the apricots, water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until soft, 10 – 15 minutes. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve, reserving the apricot liquid.
In a separate saucepan over medium heat, melt half of the butter. Add the rice and stir until coated. Stir in the nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. Add the Tuaca liqueur and stir up any bits stuck on the bottom. Add about 1/2 cup of the reserved apricot liquid and cook, stirring constantly, until it has been absorbed. Repeat, adding apricot liquid, then stirring until absorbed, until the rice is creamy but still slightly al dente. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining butter, apricot pieces, sugar, and cheese.
To serve: Put the caramel syrup in a squeeze bottle and drizzle the plates with caramel. Place scoops of risotto on the caramel. Stand a piece of chocolate lace and a piece of kataifi, brushy end up, in each scoop. Sprinkle the risotto with pine nuts and garnish with a few fresh raspberries.