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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

TWD: Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake

I guess I was more adventurous than others this week, and actually gave the really weird sounding recipe a try. With advice for other TWD Bakers, I reduced the amount of sugar, and it was definitely still sweet enough. It was very similar to a cornbread, and very, very yummy. I personally don't care for the way the butter looked on top after baking, and I'd omit the butter altogether if I make this again. Overall, another winner! (and I am tired, so letting the pictures do the talkin'!)

Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake
Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
Chosen by Caitlin of Engineer Baker

About 16 moist, plump dried Mission or Kadota figs, stemmed (I used dates)
1 c. medium-grain polenta or yellow cornmeal
½ c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 c. ricotta
1/3 c. tepid water
¾ c. sugar
¾ c. honey (if you’re a real honey lover, use a full-flavored honey such as chestnut, pine, or buckwheat)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 10 ½-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. (I used a 9" springform pan and made a mini tester tart in a 4 inch tart pan)

Check that the figs are, indeed, moist and plump. If they are the least bit hard, toss them into a small pan of boiling water and steep for a minute, then drain and pat dry. If the figs are large (bigger than a bite), snip them in half.

Whisk the polenta, flour, baking powder, and salt together.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the ricotta and water together on low speed until very smooth. With the mixer at medium speed, add the sugar, honey, and lemon zest and beat until light. Beat in the melted butter, then add the eggs one at a time, beating until the mixture is smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are fully incorporated. You’ll have a sleek, smooth, pourable batter.

Pour about one third of the batter into the pan and scatter over the figs. Pour in the rest of the batter, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, if necessary, and dot the batter evenly with the chilled bits of butter.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. The cake should be honey brown and pulling away just a little from the sides of the panm, and the butter will have left light-colored circles in the top. Transfer the cake to a rack and remove the sides of the pan after about 5 minutes. Cool to warm, or cool completely.


Jayne said...

Your pictures talk just fine! Beautiful job!!

Rebecca said...

Wish I'd cut back on the sugar. Look at those figs! Lovely.

That Girl said...

The cake looks beautiful, but the butter holes are a little disconcerting ;-)

Anonymous said...

I love the look of this in the springform pan too! Wonderful job and great pictures!

Anonymous said...

I wasn't too fond of the divots the butter created either. Your pictures are beautiful though.

CB said...

I must be the only one that thought the butter on top added some "character". LOL. Your date cake looks yum! Great job!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Engineer Baker said...

Beautiful! I'm glad you liked it!

Emily said...

Looks great! -Emily227

Ally said...

Fabulous! I actually like the butter (mmmmm butter)!

Gretchen Noelle said...

I bet dates were delicious in this. You did a great job on the cake!

LyB said...

I actually liked the rustic look of the cake! It sounds delicious with dates, I'll keep that in mind for next time!

Hygeian Stew said...

Your pictures are lovely, I used dates too, I think they were a nice addition.

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Well done!

Madam Chow said...

The tarts look fantastic, and I really like that top picture. Good job!