Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake - Tuesdays with Dorie

As soon as I finish writing this I will be able to delete my silly petulant post about not posting this week; I think I was just discouraged because my DB Cheesecake Pops bombed. The best thing to do is to get right up again, so I rushed to the store near me after work today to buy some polenta and made a quick start as soon as I got home. The Polenta Cake is fun to make and quite unusual - I have never used polenta before. I decided to use raisins as I really don't care for figs and a 10 inch cheesecake pan with a removable base as I don't have a fluted pan that size. I browned a handful of sliced almonds in the 1oz. of butter instead of dabbing the butter on top of the cake - as soon as it was ready I scattered the buttered almonds over the top. Looks quite attractive except some of them got a bit over-browned. Found that my cake took about 55 mins. to bake at almost 350 degrees F - oven does not like going below 350 so has to be watched like a hawk. I'm so pleased I'm out of my funk and will take the cake to the office tomorrow. The guys at work are having a job pick so it will provide the lucky few with some sustenance.

Recipe (slightly adapted)for Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake

2 handsful of raisins (plumped)
1 cup polenta
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup ricotta
1/3 cup tepid water
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup honey
Grated zest of one lemon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon butter
1 handful sliced almonds
2 large eggs

Center rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (mine to almost 350 degrees). Butter a 10-1/2 inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

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 raisins. Pour in the rest of the batter, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, if necessary.

Bake for 35 to 30 minutes (55 mins. for me), 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 pan. Heat the one oz. of butter and gently saute the almonds in the butter until a light gold color. Transfer the cake to a rack and remove the base of the pan with the cake on it. Scatter the buttered almonds on the top of the cake. Cool to warm, or cool completely.


Rebecca of "Ezra Pound Cake" said...

There is no funk like Baking Funk. Glad you're back in action!


LyB said...

Beautiful, I love the idea of using almonds, very creative!

Nina said...

The almonds are a great idea. Looks pretty.


Jayne said...

I love the almonds, too - very nice job!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

The almonds really add something, well done!

Cecilia said...

I'm so glad that you baked this wonderful cake and that it got you out of your funk. It was a great recipe, wasn't it? The almonds were a nice touch. Almonds with honey? Sounds delicious!