TWD: Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake
Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake is interesting indeed... ricotta and polenta in a cake? Well, I've no idea how it would look (no picture in the book) or taste like when I read through the recipe. So I was really excited to give the recipe a try!
The recipe called for dried figs, but I do not have them on hand and I am reluctant to stock them up. I wanted to make good use of existing ingredients that I have, and so the figs were replaced with dried cranberries and prunes instead.
Before I started baking, I've read the comments from other bloggers that the cake is a tad sweet, and so I reduced the amount of sugar from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup. On top of that, as I've forgotten to cut and chilled a tablespoon of butter, it was totally omitted from my baking and so the cake did not have the light-colored circles on top, as described in the recipe. And I'm glad that I used my 8X8 inch square tart pan instead of the 9-inch round pan, because the amount of batter was just enough to fill the pan nicely!
The cake was yummy indeed, it was dense and moist, with a strong aroma of honey. However, I still find that it was too sweet, even though I've reduced the amount of sugar. But the classmates that I shared the cake with certainly did not think so, and I was told that it's very oishii (it means delicious in Japanese). ;-)
Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake
(Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours)
200g dried cranberries
8-10 pcs of prunes, cut into halves
1 cup medium-grain polenta or yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 stick (or 113g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled 1 cup ricotta
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup honey (if you’re a real honey lover, use a full-flavored honey such as chestnut, pine, or buckwheat)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1) Pre-heat the oven to 325 deg F. Butter a 8X8 square fluted tart pan with removable bottom. Wrap a piece of aluminium sheet around the sides of the pan, to prevent leakage.
2) Check that the dried cranberries are moist and plump. If they are a tad too hard, steam the cranberries for about 3-5 minutes. (Or, as mentioned in the book, toss them into a small pan of boiling water and steep for a minute, then pat dry.)
3) Whisk the polenta, flour, baking powder and salt together.
4) 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.
5) 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, cranberries and prunes, mixing only until they are fully incorporated. You’ll have a sleek, smooth, pourable batter.
6) Pour the batter into the pan, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, if necessary.
7) 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.
8) Transfer the cake to a rack and remove the sides of the pan after about 5 minutes. Cool to warm, or cool completely.