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.