Don't forget my Martha Stewart's Cookies Cookbook Give-Away ~ Last Day to Enter!
Tuesdays With Dorie
It's Tuesday again and that means another fantastic recipe from Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking: From My Home To Yours". The Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake recipe was chosen by Caitlin of Engineer Baker and baked by the Tuesdays With Dorie master bakers!
Nothing Too Weird
My Hamilton Beach Was Up To The Task!
EMPTY! Now, Isn't This Prettier Than A Regular Tart Pan?
DONE! Isn't that delicious looking? Don't you just want to dig right in?
I wasn't interested in this recipe at all this week. I mean, come on! Polenta and Ricotta Cake? Just didn't inspire me! But I figured, what the heck, I'll give it a try. The worst that could happen is that we don't like it and John would have to take it to work. Those guys eat anything! It wasn't that the ingredients were expensive. But it did mean that I'd have to use a springform pan as I don't have a fluted tart pan and didn't want to buy one more piece of equipment.
Look at the Tender Crumb on this cake!
I don't like figs! There, I've said it. But, I do like apricots and I had a whole bag of them. At least I thought I did. After hunting through three lockers, one with my feet in the air and my head stuck down the hole,I found those plump golden babies. You would think that I'd know exactly where everything is on this boat. It's only 30 feet long! How far could it go? It was at the very bottom of a locker that very few contortionists could reach!
Those flowers hung around all weekend! We couldn't kill them!
It was raining cats & dogs outside the day I made the cake. Guess where my pan was? It was outside in the car (AKA the "storage unit") and that would mean a trip up the slippery dock, at low tide, in the rain, to get the right pan. Did I also mention I waited until the last day/minute to bake? Yeah...I was ready to throw in the towel as I was running out of time. So, I did what any creative genious would do ~ I improvised and used a fluted stoneware pie pan from Pampered Chef! I thought, gee, this looks pretty and it's fluted too! There's a reason the recipe says "Use a fluted tart pan with a removable bottom"! More later...
The Raspberry Sauce Made the Cake!
The recipe was very easy, no really weird ingredients other than ricotta which isn't really weird, just that I never have any of that onboard! I got all my ingredients out and realized my HUGE jug of honey had seized up into a solid block that was rock hard. And remember, I have no microwave. Oh No! I quickly put a pot of water on the stove, plopped that sucker right in and boiled it until I could get enough out of the jug! Sheesh! No other tragedies occurred and it was smooth sailing from then on.
My oven isn't the biggest or the most reliable and it took a total of 75 minutes to bake. It smelled wonderful every time I opened the oven to check on it??? We were in a hurry to go somewhere so I placed it on a rack and we left thinking I could flip it out when we came back. WRONG! This is the reason you NEED a removable bottom! It almost broke as I was trying to transfer it to another plate. The sides were loose, but the bottom was stuck! Still, I insisted I was going to win. (I have issues!) I cut a slice out of the pie. It was now officially a "pie". Boy was it smelling good! John was sitting there like a little kid waiting for his after dinner pudding!
Cafe Demel, Here We Come!
I sprinkled it with a little powdered sugar and made a raspberry sauce to go with it as it seemed like it was missing something. Awesome! What a difference that made! Woke that pie right up and made my tongue sing! I also made a small batch of sweetened whipped cream to plop on the side.
This Polenta and Ricotta Cake proved me wrong. I went into it thinking I would be disappointed. In the end, it reminded me of a European dessert. Very simple, yet classy when dressed up! I closed my eyes and remembered sitting in the March sun, at an outside table in front of Vienna's Cafe Demel. Wow! Goosebumps as I wrote that!
Doesn't your mouth just Pucker thinking of the Raspberry Sauce?
Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake
"Baking: From My Home To Yours" by Dorie Greenspan
- About 16 moist, plump dried Mission or Kadota figs, stemmed (My Notes: I used moist dried apricots, chopped)
- 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
- 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled,plus 1 Tablespoon, cut into bits and chilled
- 2 large eggs
- 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 (Very Important) and put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
- Check that the figs (Apricots) 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 pan, 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.