Rediscovering the Joy of Cooking

April 29, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake

Filed under: blogging events, dessert, Tuesdays with Dorie — Tags: — Emily @ 3:28 am

It’s Tuesday again!! This week’s recipe was chosen by Caitlin of Engineer Baker. I am not the biggest fan of figs, but I thought I would try it out anyway. Aaron LOVED the figs. Me, not so much. However, the cake was amazing!! I think I would like to try the cake again without the figs–or maybe half and half, so Aaron would be happy. I think Aaron might have been drooling over the cake—I could barely get a picture taken before he started eating it (so excuse the picture quality). He ate it for dinner.

Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake

About 16 moist, plump dried Mission or Kadota figs, stemmed (I used Mission)

1 c. medium-grain polenta or yellow cornmeal (I used Polenta)

½ c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 c. ricotta

1/3 c. tepid water

¾ c. sugar

¾ c. 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 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus 1 tablespoon, cut into bits and chilled

2 large 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.

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.

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 panm, 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.



  1. He ate it for dinner? Wow wish I could have. I loved this cake. I like figs to begin with but many people suggested other fruits as well. The apricot one sounded intriguing.

    Comment by Lori — April 29, 2008 @ 11:18 am

  2. Great job!

    Comment by Jayne — April 29, 2008 @ 2:41 pm

  3. ooh ooh, try strawberries, they tasted soo yummy. The tartness of the berries balanced great with the sweetness of the cake.

    Comment by NinaBeth — April 29, 2008 @ 9:37 pm

  4. He ate it for dinner? thats it? HAHA. how funny! So glad he liked it. I wasn’t a fan but maybe I’ll have to try apricot, pear, strawberry or craisins if I make it again on other TWD recs.
    Clara @ I♥food4thought

    Comment by CB — April 30, 2008 @ 12:48 am

  5. Haha! I’m glad Aaron liked it! It looks great! I plan to make it soon, but I think I’ll like it more than Chad, he’s more like you with the figs. : )

    Comment by Ally — April 30, 2008 @ 1:45 am

  6. it looks great! sorry you didn’t like the figs – maybe you could try a different dried fruit next time like cherries or something?

    Comment by Jaime — April 30, 2008 @ 4:20 am

  7. Your cake looks beautiful! Those figs look so plump and juicy, I wish I could find some that looked like that!

    Comment by LyB — April 30, 2008 @ 1:11 pm

  8. You did a great job, your cake is gorgeous!

    Comment by Mari — April 30, 2008 @ 11:46 pm

  9. Hello, Cool Idea. I just made polenta a few days ago with Gorgonzola cheese and heavy cream. It was pretty darn good so if you have time come check it out and let me know what you think.

    Comment by joejhorn — June 29, 2008 @ 6:05 am

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