Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake

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
2 eggs

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)


amanda. said...

I think we used the same pans. Go us! Only I was lazy and didn't want to butter a 4th pan... big mess in my oven!

Your cakes look great! I'm glad your husband enjoyed them.

Tammy said...

Your cakes look great. I made individual ones as well but got 6 - my tins must have been a bit bigger

Mary Ann said...

glad your husband was a fan- I was not so lucky! I thought it was fun to try something new. Looks tasty!

rainbowbrown said...

horray for minis.

lovesweetlove said...

Your little tartlettes are so cute!

Rebecca of "Ezra Pound Cake" said...

My husband is holding out for the PB Torte. ;)


Bumblebutton said...

Making darling little tarts make it easier to give away if they aren't to your liking! They look pretty!

CB said...

Adorable tartlets. Great job!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Jayne said...

I love your little tart pans! And they are very cute and shiny! I think I'll try the melted butter and sugar idea next time I make this cake.

lemontartlet said...

They're so pretty! Let us know how your friend liked them!

Julius said...

These look fantastic! :)

from Occasional Baker

Just like Stella Used to Make said...

Glad you tried it. I havent tasted mine yet, but I like cornbread so I hope they are good. I love the tartlette pans!

bakingwiththeboys said...

Good idea with the butter. I did it according to the recipe and ended up with little divots.

annmartina said...

I like the idea of brushing butter on after it's baked. I was kind of hoping it might taste like the corn toasties we used to get at Howard Johnson's, only better. No such luck for me.

Madam Chow said...

They DID taste like sweet buttery cornbread! I cut back a bit on the sugar, and it was a hit. Glad your husband liked it!
Madam Chow

Heather said...

They look so delicious! Great job! I love really sweet buttery cornbread so I ended up really liking this recipe! I'll definitely be making it again.

Zakia / The Frosted Bake Shop said...

glad you made it and to hear your husband liked it!

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

Oh, the small tart pans are cute. Haven't tasted mine yet but this was a fun cake to make.

Gretchen Noelle said...

Gorgeous little tartlets! Glad you had tasters that enjoyed it!

Cecilia said...

Your mini-cakes look great! Man, I really need to go out and purchase some small tart pans. I love mini-cakes!

I'm glad that you tried the recipe and that your husband liked it. I'm sorry it wasn't what you were looking for, though. It looks good if that's any consolation.

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Love the mini tarts and the idea of using mixed dried fruits!

Sweet and Savory Eats said...

Nice job on using mini pans. I like how the slices almost resembled shortbread -- something you could eat with your hands. Well done.

Natalie said...

They look great! I thought the same thing - sweet cornbread! (But the batter - that was some awesome stuff)