¾ cup risotto rice, such as Arborio
3 tablespoons caster sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2½ cups milk
finely grated zest 1 lemon
1/3 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
4 apples, such as Braeburn
good knob of butter
3 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup plain flour
1½ cups panko crumbs
vegetable oil for frying
icing sugar for dusting
cinnamon yoghurt (I used Clevedon Valley Buffalo Co.)
Put the rice, sugar, salt and milk in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to very low, give a final stir then cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until tender. A simmer mat is ideal when cooking risotto. Uncover and continue to cook the rice until it is quite dry and sticky with no liquid left in the bottom of the saucepan. Stir in the lemon zest and cranberries then spread the risotto onto a large plate to cool quickly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour for the rice to firm up.
Compote: Peel, core and dice the apples about 1 cm. Combine with the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a sauté pan, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until the apples are tender and well caramelised. Cool.
Assembly: Using wet hands place a heaped tablespoon of risotto in the palm of one hand and flatten it out. Place 3-4 pieces of apple compote in the centre. Mould the risotto around to completely enclose the apple and form into a log or ball shape. You will need to gently squeeze the rice together to get a well compacted shape otherwise it will fall apart during cooking. Place on a tray and repeat with the remaining rice to make 16 arancini in total.
Beat the eggs with the vanilla in a bowl. Place the flour and panko crumbs in 2 separate bowls. Roll the arancini in flour then in the egg, letting the excess drip back into the bowl, then roll in the breadcrumbs, pressing them on well. Place on a tray, cover and chill if not cooking immediately.
Heat 4 cm of oil in a deep, medium-sized saucepan or wok to 180˚C or until a piece of bread dropped in the oil turns golden in 30 seconds. Cook the arancini in batches for 3 minutes until golden brown, turning them in the oil for even browning. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towels.
To serve: Stack the arancini in a bowl and dust generously with icing sugar. Put the remaining apples and the yoghurt in small bowls and serve separately.