This Sweet Vanilla Risotto is something I’ve been wanting to blog about for quite a few years now! And I’m finally getting around to it!
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
What does our Sweet Risotto taste like?
In our Cointreau and Orange Risotto Brulée, it is the topping that makes the pudding. But in this Sweet Vanilla Risotto with Calvados and Caramelised Apples, every ingredient carries its own weight. No bit players here!
The risotto itself is creamy and not too sweet, just right, in fact. On that base, you have the magnificent complexity of vanilla, the world’s second most expensive spice, but certainly the most popular. Each spoonful of the sweet vanilla risotto on its own is creamy, woody, floral and intoxicating in its bouquet.
The caramelised apples add a honeyed, almost toffee-like sweetness to the sweet risotto. And the Calvados emphasizes the fruity apple aroma of the whole ensemble. And finally, for some added warmth, a sprinkle of cinnamon completes this glorious dessert.
Sheer ecstasy with every spoonful!
What is Calvados?
Calvados is an apple brandy from Normandy, France. It is made from 4 different varieties of apples: sweet, bittersweet, acidic and bitter. The apples are juiced, turned into cider and finally distilled into Calvados, then aged in oak barrels.
It can be served as an apéritif, a digestive, used in cocktails and most definitely, cooked with!
Our equivalent drink here in the UK, is the Somerset Cider Brandy, produced by a single company in Somerset.
You can substitute the Calvados with any brandy or cognac, or skip it altogether if you don’t do alcohol.
Making our Sweet Risotto
So this is a very, very, very easy recipe. All we do is:
- Sauté the rice for 1 minute in butter.
- Add the Calvados, if using.
- Add the milk, cream and vanilla and cook for 30 minutes., stirring from time to time.
- Make the caramelised apples, a 5-minute job.
- Serve the pudding, topped with apples.
Super easy, right?
Which risotto rice to use?
I prefer to use arborio when making rice pudding or sweet risotto, the most commonly found risotto rice outside of Italy. This is because its “gloopier” character gives you the perfect rice pudding texture, while still retaining a hint of that bite synonymous with risotto.
If you are interested, check out the post on Basic Risotto, where you will find everything you need to know about cooking risotto:
- the history of risotto
- risotto rice
- risotto stock
- risotto science (!)
- fat for risotto
- stirring or no stirring
- mantecatura – the art of creaming with the addition of fat (butter, olive oil, cheese), how we finish cooking risotto
Make Ahead Sweet Risotto
You can make the risotto itself up to 2 days earlier. Cool to room temperature, then cover and keep in the fridge. Warm it up thoroughly with a little milk added, before serving.
The apples have to be made just before serving.
Now, let’s go enjoy the recipe!
More Risotto Recipes
For more risotto recipes, just head on over to the Risotto Masterclass page, for gems like:
If you like the recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Grazie!
And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood
Sweet Vanilla Risotto with Calvados and Caramelised Apples
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 150 g arborio rice
- 2 Tbsp Calvados
- 750 ml milk
- 125 ml double cream/thick cream
- 120 g white sugar
- 1 small stick cinnamon
- 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp pure vanilla paste/extract
- 2 eating apples preferably organic
- 1 Tbsp salted butter
- 1 Tbsp light brown or demerara sugar
- 2 Tbsp Calvados or any apple brandy
- pinch cinnamon
- sprinkle of cinnamon
- Heat the butter on low heat, sauté the rice for 1 minute.
- Add the brandy and cook for 1 minute, stirring.
- Slowly, add the milk in, stirring constantly, followed by the cream, sugar and cinnamon stick. Give it all a good stir and increase the heat to medium and let it come to a simmer.
- If using a vanilla pod, split in half with a knife and scrape the seeds out, and add them to the risotto. If using vanilla paste/extract, we’ll add it after cooking, for the strongest flavour.
- Once the risotto is simmering, lower the heat to medium-low and leave it cooking for 30 minutes, stirring it about 4-5 times during that time, especially towards the end of cooking. Just like regular rice pudding, it may start to catch towards the end.
- When it’s done, take it off the heat, stir in the vanilla paste if that’s what you are using, cover, and leave to rest for 2 minutes.
The Caramelised Apples
- In the last 5 minutes of the risotto cooking time, core and slice the apples into wedges, about 8-10 wedges per apple.
- Heat the butter on medium-low heat and and toss in the apples when it’s melted.
- Sprinkle a pinch of ground cinnamon and shake the pan to coat the apples with the butter. Use a spatula if you need to.
- Add the sugar and calvados, and once again, shake the pan to mix everything up. Leave to cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes and for the mixture to caramelise.
- Dish up the risotto into individual serving dishes.
- Top with the apples, drizzling any sauce that’s in the pan over the risotto.
- Finish off with a very, very light sprinkling of ground cinnamon if you like. Best eaten warm.