Well this week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection was chosen by Caitlin. It was definitely out of the box for me, which is part of why I love this event! I'll admit I was a little wary, though, so I used my new little tart pans and halved the recipe- it yielded four tartlets. I used a dried fruit mix from Trader Joe's that included raisins and berries and they were delicious. I also skipped the butter on top of the batter and instead brushed the finished product with butter and sprinkled the cakes with sugar so they were cute and shiny. Personally, I thought they tasted like really sweet buttery cornbread (not quite what I was hoping for!). My husband thought they tasted like really sweet buttery cornbread (and he loved it!) So I guess it worked out in the end! I also dropped off a few pieces to my Brazilian friend since I heard this was similar to something they eat there- I'm still waiting for her verdict! Make sure to check out how everyone else did!
Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake
from Baking by Dorie Greenspan
About 16 moist, plump dried Mission or Kadota figs, stemmed (I used dried raisins and berries instead)
1 C. medium-grain polenta or yellow cornmeal
½ C. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1 C. ricotta
1/3 C. tepid water
¾ C. sugar
¾ C. honey
Grated zest of 1 lemon
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. (I used a raisin berry mix and plumped them first)
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. (I omitted the 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. (I brushed the cakes with butter and sprinkled with sugar)