An Unusual Italian Easter Dessert

One of my readers contacted me looking for an Italian Easter dessert recipe that her mother-in-law used to make, but she didn't have the specific ingredients or preparation steps.

I didn't have one at my fingertips, so I asked around and found a recipe to try.

The characteristics Lisa remembered were that it was crustless, cooked on the stove and in the oven, and it had ingredients that included eggs, Romano cheese, Arborio rice, and cinnamon. 

She thought the texture was cake-like. And that it was delicious warm or cold.

Could it be a custard, a pie, or a cake?

Here is the recipe I decided to test for Lisa.

It's a Rich Easter Dessert Recipe Too

Easter dessert on a plate

A lot of the cinnamon floated to the top crust.

And notice the layer of custard that formed just below it.  Delicious!


1 cup Arborio rice
5 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup Romano
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
Crisco or other fat for greasing the casserole dish.


On the stove, cook the rice, salt and milk:

1 cup Arborio rice
3 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt

Simmer on medium-low for about 25-30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

While the rice is cooking blend these together

3 eggs
3/4 cup Romano cheese
3/4 c sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla

Coat a casserole dish with Crisco or your preferred fat. (Coconut oil is what I used.)

After the rice is done, add the remaining 2 cups of cold milk and stir well.  Then add the cheese mixture and stir together.  Pour into the greased casserole dish (2 1/2 quart size.)

Put about an inch of water in a roasting pan and place in the oven, then put the casserole dish in the center.

Italian Easter Dessert just out of the oven.

Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. 

The center should be soft and puffy and no longer liquid.

If it isn’t browned, remove from the water and return to the oven for a few minutes.

Remove from oven and rest for at least 30 minutes.

Slide a spatula around the edges to keep it from sticking and tearing as it cools.

A Tasty Italian Dessert

A few key points to keep in mind: 

Although you could make this dish with regular white rice (long grain), you should try to make it with Arborio rice which is a short grain because it will become softer and blend better with the other ingredients.

This Easter dessert is delicately sweet but very rich.  Feel free to experiment with it to make it sweeter, use more Romana, or put it in a crust. 

This recipe would fill 2 pie crusts, actually.

You could also use it as a base for other ingredients.

I'm thinking maybe chopped dates, hazelnuts, or add a drizzle of caramel as an accent.

Return to the Dessert Recipes page.