The rice pie is a typical dessert of the villages above my city, Carrara, in northern Tuscany. There is a great struggle between the inhabitants to get the paternity of the rice pie recipe. Each family has its own recipe. Some say that it comes from the village of Codena, while someone supports that is originally from Bedizzano. Some others speculate that it originated in Torano, where even women would sprinkle parmesan cheese on the surface of the cake. Obviously, everyone thinks that their recipe is better than the others. A neverending battle that will last forever. There will not be a winner but we can console ourselves with many delicious rice cakes.

A slice of Rice Custard Pie – Ph Credits: Notizie del Giorno

In Marina di Carrara it is common to prepare this cake on March 19, on the occasion of the patron saint’s feast day, St. Joseph. When I was a child, I remember seeing all the women in my family making countless huge cake pans with rice pie.

My mother told me that when she was little, her mother’s cake pans were so big that they could not fit in the oven. They needed to go to the bakeries and use their bigger ovens. They placed the pans along with the bread, and so it was for many other families.

For this recipe, I used anise liqueur. But many recipes include a secret mix of liqueurs in varying amounts. They may include brandy, cognac, liquor mint (or peppermint), Alchermes, Sambuca, Sassolino, or Maraschino.

Personally, I prefer the typical recipe of Avenza, a suburb of Carrara. And I prefer the rice pie baked in a wooden oven. But, of course, it’s not easy for anyone to do it with the old style.

The recipe to make the Rice Custard Pie

I invite you to try this easy-to-make rice pie recipe. Once you made it, please tell me what mix of liquor you’ve used! I am curious to know!

rice cake Tuscany
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5 from 3 votes

Rice Cake recipe

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time3 hours 10 minutes
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: Lunigiana and Apuan Area, Tuscan recipes
Servings: 8 people
Author: Edoardo Pucciarelli


Rice pie

  • 1 US quart milk
  • 9 yolks
  • 6 eggs
  • 12 oz white caster sugar
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 grated lemon rind
  • 1 shot anise liqueur


  • 3 tbsp white caster sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

To grease the cake tin

  • butter


  • Boil the rice in salted water, drain "al dente" (8-9 minutes). Wash it under cold water to stop the cooking and let it cool down on a dish towel.
  • Butter a cake tin of 26 cm/10 inch (better if it is made in aluminium).
  • Prepare a light caramel with the sugar and a teaspoon of lemon juice and pour it into the cake tin. Turn the tin to evenly distribute the caramel on the bottom. The caramel must be high about 1 cm/0.3 inches on the inside edge.
  • Boil the milk with the grated lemon rind in a small pot.
  • In the meanwhile pour the eggs and the yolks in a bowl with sugar. Work briefly with the hand whip, just enough to mix well (without mounting). Continuing to mix, pour flush the liquor and the warm milk.
  • Distribute the rice on the bottom of the caramelized cake tin, forming a smooth layer. Slowly pour the mixture of eggs, sugar, milk and liquor. Be careful not to mix the two layers (the cream should float over the rice layer).
  • Pass the pie in the oven, pre-heated to 170 C°/338 F°, for about 50 minutes, until light brown stains appear on the surface.
  • Once out of the oven, let the pie completely cool down and keep in the refrigerator for a few hours before to serve.
  • Cut the rice pie into squares.


We suggest you taste the rice pie with sweet wines such as Moscato or Brachetto wine.

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18 thoughts on “The Recipe to Make an Exquisite Rice Pie

  1. Rezel Kealoha says:

    oh wow. I’ve never heard of this dessert. Such a great alternative to a standard rice pudding. It sounds amazing!

      • Tanya Grimaldi says:

        5 stars
        My nonna used to make this pie every Easter but the recipe was never written down (it was all in her head)…lol. When I saw the photograph of it on your page, I knew that this would be the closest thing to hers! My dad enjoyed it so much and was reminded of his mom. Success! I will definitely be making this every Easter!

        • Nicola Bandini says:

          Dear Tanya, your words made our day! Thank you so much. We are so glad to hear that our recipe reminded you and your dad of your Nonna. It is typical for every Nonna and Mamma not to know how to write a recipe. Every step is in their head. Lol

  2. Forbidden Fruit says:

    I am so intrigued by this recipe! I have literally never heard of rice pie but looks simple enough and the ingredients sound delicious!

  3. Donna D'Andrea says:

    5 stars
    Thank you! I have been searching for a rice pie with no crust/ricotta cheese and I found it. Just like my grandmother made with a creamy top!

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