Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie - Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake

When I first looked at the recipe for Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake, I have to admit, I wasn’t so sure about the Engineer Baker’s choice for this week’s installment of Tuesdays with Dorie. But the more I went back to it, the more possibilities I saw for Catlin’s pick.

First of all, it gave me an excuse to make ricotta again. Yes, homemade ricotta. I made it a few weeks ago with a recipe from Amy of Eggs On Sunday, and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since! Then I started thinking maple syrup instead of honey, cranberries for the figs, and orange zest, not lemon. Oh yes, now I was excited!

I halved the recipe, as I was reminded of last week’s carrot cake, and got baking! Thank goodness I read the Q&A on the Tuesdays with Dorie site as this cake would have been way too sweet for my taste had I used the amount of sugar specified. So I reduced it to 2 tbsp for a half recipe.

I decided to use my mini fluted tart pans and made three with cranberries, and 2 with figs. I have to say, I could have eaten the whole thing raw, the batter was so good. But, using my better judgment, I baked the little tarts for the same amount of time specified for the regular sized cake. They smelled heavenly and tasted incredible. I even like the rustic look they have, I think it adds to their charm.

I was pleasantly surprised by this recipe and I’m so glad I decided to try it out even though my initial reaction was to opt out this week. Now go check out the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers! And Caitlin, thank you for making me leave my comfort zone this week and get creative in the kitchen!

Maple-Orange Scented Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake
Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

4 dried figs, stemmed
2 oz dried cranberries
1/2 cup medium-grain polenta or yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup ricotta
2 1/2 tbsp tepid water
4 tbsp sugar
3 oz maple syrup
Grated zest of 1 small orange

4 tbsp of unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus 1/2 tbsp frozen then grated
1 large eggs

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Butter 5 4-inch fluted tart pans with removable bottoms and put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Plump the figs and cranberries by steeping them in hot water for a few minutes. Drain and pat dry. Cut the figs in bite sized pieces.

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, maple syrup, and orange zest and beat until light. Beat in the melted butter, then add the egg, 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 a small amount of the batter into each pan and scatter the figs into 2 of the pans and the cranberries into the other 3. 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 cakes comes out clean. The cakes should be honey brown and pulling away just a little from the sides of the pans, and the butter will have left light-colored circles in the tops. Transfer the cakes to a rack and remove the sides of the pans after about 5 minutes. Cool to warm, or cool completely.

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57 comments:

Ginny said...

I love that you put Maple and Orange together but...I have a strange aversion to polenta though...just one of those things, I've never liked...

Engineer Baker said...

Wow - awesome and creative! I love that you put maple syrup in it, and thanks for humoring me!

Sarah said...

This is my favorite flavor combo used so far! They sound delightful! Great job!

Isabelle said...

elles sont vraiment belles tes photos lyb :)

Carrie said...

What fantastic substitutes you've made. Your mini-cakes look and sound great! :)

Jayne said...

Maple and orange - what a great idea. I'll have to try that next time, because I have a feeling I'll be making this one again. I agree with you about the rustic look - it just looks so approachable.

Marie said...

Your cakes are fabulous and I am most impressed with the fact that you used homemade ricotta cheese! Wow, I bow down to you! OH and maple syrup...how Canadian and how wonderful!

lovesweetlove said...

Your little tarts are so cute!

Patricia Scarpin said...

LyB, that is a great way of using ricotta - the cakes look delish!

Kelly said...

Homemade ricotta? You rock! Glad you had so much success.

rebekka said...

All of these are making me REALLY sad that I had to opt out this week. Were you able to taste the maple syrup? YUM!

CB said...

Rock on! I am drooling over your changes. Way to be creative and make it your own. Great job!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

ostwestwind said...

What a great idea to bake it in individual portions! They are looking great!

Ulrike from Küchenlatein

LyB said...

Ginny - There are always those things we like less, but that's ok! :)

Engineer - Thank you for choosing this!

Sarah - Thank you!

Isabelle - Merci beaucoup, Isa!

Carrie - Thank you, I had fun tinkering!

Jayne - It was nice to make something simple this week.

Marie - Thank you so much!

Lovesweetlove - Thank you!

Patricia - The ricotta itself is wonderful too! Thanks sweetie!

Kelly - Thanks so much!

Rebekka - The maple flavor was subtle but definitely there.

CB - Thank you! I had lots of fun!

LyB said...

Ulrike - It was easier since I halved the recipe and also easier to share!

Bumblebutton said...

Super inventive, you are! You made the ricotta?!! It must taste wonderful! Very pretty.

kim said...

your flavor mix sounds great and the mini tarts are so cute! the homemade ricotta sounds so good, i would never have thought to do that.

Lori said...

Love the look of your cakes. They definitely are fluted. Your pics are great too.

Amy said...

Your pictures are just beautiful! I wish I could taste your cake...the way you tweaked it makes it sound even better than the original recipe! Yum!

annmartina said...

I like the idea of the cranberries. I think I would have liked this recipe better if I had added something tart.

Piggy said...

that's an interesting twist to the recipe... I bet the cakes taste great with maple syrup and orange zest!

lemontartlet said...

Your little tarts are so frigging adorable! They look like little golden bites of sunshine.

Shirlie said...

Wow! I love the originality you gave to this recipe. I'm inspired to make my own ricotta, now. Thanks! And beautiful photos, too, by the way.

Julius said...

Wonderful looking cakes!

Julius
from Occasional Baker

Hygeian Stew said...

Your alterations are really creative!

Madam Chow said...

I really like your substitutions, and the crunchy golden edges to your little cakes. Beautiful job!

Aimée said...

Love, love polenta and in a cake it sounds particularly inviting. Delicious!

Cheryl said...

Mmmm, maple sounds good! I loved the orange in mine. I don't know if I would try lemon next time, I liked the orange so much!

Nice work!

Heather said...

Wow! What a great combo! Your cakes look so delicious!

Amy said...

I love your little tarts, they are so cute! I need to try the maple syrup with orange. Sounds devine!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

homemade ricotta--that must have been soooo delicious! and i love their "rustic" look too!

Zakia / The Frosted Bake Shop said...

wow, what great substitutions. your tarts look great.

Donna said...

Homemade ricotta? No Way!
Your tart is lovely and I'll bet it tastes even better with the tasty ricotta! Awesome!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

My Canadian husband would love the maple flavor in these cakes. Will have to try it out on him.

LyB said...

Bumblebutton – The ricotta is great!

Kim, Lori, Amy – Thank you!

Annmartina – I had to cut the sugar a lot.

Piggy, Lemontartlet, Shirlie, Julius – Thank you!

Hygeian Stew – I used what I loved so I guess it worked out!

Madam Chow – The golden edges were the best part!

Aimée – Your really should try this, it’s pretty easy and it is delicious!

Cheryl, Heather, Amy – Thank you!

Steph – This cake was the perfect excuse to make the ricotta again!

Zakia – I think the substitutions were what make this week fun for me!

Donna – The ricotta is actually real easy to make and it is awesome!

Lydia – The maple flavor is very subtle but it’s really good with the orange and cranberries.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

I love the changes you made. I probably would have like the cake better your way. It looks absolutely delicious!

Brilynn said...

Yes! Dorie wins again!
Those look great!

Shari said...

Homemade ricotta sounds fun! I love all the variations you tried -maple syrup, cranberries, and orange zest. Very creative.

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

The smaller cakes look so pretty. I haven't tasted mine yet but I hope I enjoy it too.

Sweet and Savory Eats said...

You are my hero: homemade ricotta, creative flavor combinations and a girl who's not afraid to eat raw batter. Great job!

Kevin said...

Your cakes look great! And you used homemade ricotta!!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Lovely ideas you executed here. I really want to try and make the fresh ricotta. Your tartlets are adorable. Glad you all liked it as well!

LyB said...

Susan(SGCC) – Thank you! I wanted to be sure I’d like it so adapting it with some of my favorites, I knew it’d work out!

Brilynn – Thank you! I wish all the recipes I tried were as foolproof as most of Dorie’s! :)

Shari, Sherry Trifle, Sweet and Savory – Thank you!

Kevin – I’m definitely making the ricotta again, it’s good in so many things!

LyB said...

Gretchen - I liked it a lot, and the ricotta is so easy to make, I'm sure you'll get as addicted as I am! :)

Elle said...

Oh, those look great! I love everything in those...and it may be a good excuse to get some mini fluted pans!

Liliana said...

What a great idea to use maple syrup! I just bought a case during the maple syrup season!

Maple syrup combined with orange must taste heavenly. Great looking tarts!

Cecilia said...

Mini-cakes are awesome! Your pictures of them really great, by the way.

What did you think about the maple syrup? It seems like an interesting variation along with the orange zest. Perhaps I'll try that out next time...

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

I love the idea of using maple syrup to sweeten this cake, I'm sure it was delicious. Your mini-tart pans made adorable cake-lettes, I've gotta get some of those!

Julius said...

Wow, I *love* all your substitutions!

Great work. Very beautiful.

Julius
from Occasional Baker

Rebecca said...

Oh, I love the look of your little cakes! They look yummy. I know I don't like this cake, but your pictures confuse me. ;)

Natalie said...

Very pretty cakes! I could have eaten all the batter raw too!

LyB said...

Elle – TWD is a great excuse to get all sorts of kitchen gadgets!

Liliana – This would be a great use for your maple syrup!

Cecilia – I loved the maple and the orange together, although the maple flavor was subtle you could definitely taste it.

Mevrouw Cupcake – These little pans are getting a lot more use than I originally thought they would!

Julius – Thanks again! ;)

Rebecca – Perhaps the maple syrup is throwing you a curve ball! ;)

Natalie – The orange flavor was so incredible in the raw batter, mmmm!

Cakespy said...

A sort of choked sound came out of my mouth when I saw these, a combination of "OMIGOD", "SO CUTE", "SO DELICIOUS" and "I WISH I HAD ONE NOW". ;-)

LyB said...

!LOL! Thank you, Cakespy! :)

MrsBethorama said...

Wow! I'm impressed with homemade ricotta. The maple syrup sounds like a great idea and I love cranberries. Great job!

smellslikehome said...

great job and beautiful pics!

Jaime said...

beautiful job! the fluted edges look so perfect

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