Tuesday, April 29, 2008

TWD: Fluted Polenta Ricotta Cake

At last the cake is ready. This week's recipe, Fluted Polenta Ricotta Cake, was chosen by Caitlin at Engineer Baker. This sounded like a great combination to me, so I was glad to have a chance to try it. My one substitution was to swap out the figs for dried sour cherries and sliced almonds. I'm not a huge fan of figs ever since someone told me that a certain wasp lays its eggs in the fruit. No thanks. But I thought cherries would work nicely.

Take a look at the other cakes from the Tuesdays with Dorie group while you're at it. (Note: some of the posted recipes for this cake are missing the butter ingredient, so if you plan to make this, double check the recipe.)

Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake

About 16 moist, plump dried Mission or Kadota figs, stemmed

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)

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus 1 tablespoon cut into small pieces

Grated zest of 1 lemon

2 large eggs (room temperature)

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.

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.


Heather B said...

I didn't know that about the wasps. ewww...not sure I'll try it with figs now. I used dried cranberries this time.

Yours looks delicious! Great job!

Cheryl said...

I didn't like figs when I was younger because they look like they're full of worms. Ick! I still don't like them.

Did you like the cake? I put fresh plums in mine, and it was fantastic!

CB said...

wasps? eggs? I am getting the heebies just thinking about it. Another reason for me to not like figs... Your cranberry almond cake looks great!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Emily said...

I did NOT know that. Looks good though!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Wasp eggs? Yuck!
Well your cake did look very nice! Great job on it!

Mari said...

Your wasp eggs fact is killing me, LOL! Like the dried sour cherry and slivered almond substitute, though!

LyB said...

Your cake looks delicious, great job! But that wasp thing, ewww.

Dolores said...

The wasp thing's new to me too, but I'm not sure I can give up figs... I love your sour cherry alternative though! Great job!