Tuesday, April 29, 2008

TWD: Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake

My doesn't that name sound delicious! Believe me, I was spectical of this recipe...but I am so glad that I made it. This might be one of my favorites, it's sweet but not too sweet, and when paired with a cup of strong black coffee, it's delicious...in fact I just might have it for breakfast tomorrow! I loved the texture...when the cake touches your tongue there is a slight grain from the cornmeal, so great, but then again I love anything with cornmeal!

This recipe came together in no time flat. I halved the recipe and it made 6 cute little fluted tarts, mainly because that is all the ricotta I had left in the house. What a great way to use up leftover ricotta!

The recipe begins by whisking together the dry ingredients, followed by the usual mixing of the wet ingredients. Probably almost quicker than cookies, the batter is ready lickety-split and after a short time in the oven, (perfect timing, just enough to clean up) it's ready.

I sprinkled powdered sugar over the top and plated it over cherry jam. Delish!

Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake

About 16 moist, plump dried Mission or Kadota figs, stemmed (I used dried cherries)
1 c. medium-grain polenta or yellow cornmeal
1/2c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 c. ricotta
1/3 c. tepid water
3/4 C. sugar
3/4 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
1 stick butter, melted
1 stick butter, cut into tiny bits (I only used 1 T)

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 10 -inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

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.


Engineer Baker said...

I think you're one of the few (like me) who likes the texture of polenta! Your mini tarts look amazing, and yes, they're perfect for breakfast :)

Jayne said...

Those look delicious! And I, too, agree they're good for breakfast - that's what I had this morning.

lovesweetlove said...

Yum! We thought about serving it with jam also, but we didn't have the idea until it was gone, lol.

CB said...

Mmm... I bet it was so good with some jam. Great job!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

bakingwiththeboys said...

Great idea with the jam. Wish I had thought of it.

Julius said...

I loved this recipe, too.

Looks great!

from Occasional Baker

Cheryl said...

Ooooh, great idea to use up leftover ricotta! Definitely filing that away for future reference...

Shari said...

Cherry jam and icing sugar sound good for this cake!

Tammy said...

the cherry jam looks great! I froze my cakes so may use your jam idea when I serve them

Gretchen Noelle said...

Lovely idea with the jam! Gorgeous photos! And yes, this was perfect for breakfast!

Cecilia said...

Beautiful plating! The cherry jam provided a great contrast to the color of the cake. I'm super glad that you're a fan of the cake; we should perhaps start a fan club. =P

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Being a cherry lover, I like the fact that you served it with cherry jam. I'm also glad to hear such positive feedback on this cake. Although I didn't think that I'd like it in the beginning, I changed my mind in the end.

Andrea said...

I like the idea of the dried cherries. It would I imagine offset some of the sweetness of the honey. Nice tie in and presentation with the cherry jam.