Sunday, November 12, 2006

Polenta cake with apples


I find that baking is a very therapeutic, yet exciting activity. When I have the time, I really like to assemble a cake or muffins. It's such a relaxed thing to do, completely un-worrysome, just make sure you really beat the eggs with the sugar and butter until they are fluffy and you'll be allright. Still, there is some excitement to it (more than to cooking) because once you put whatever you're making into the oven you can't change anything anymore, you just have to wait and see whether it all turns out as planned, i.e. beautifully risen and golden. Last but not least baking is of course hugely rewarding as you get to enjoy the freshest of cakes or biscuits with your afternoon tea.

I have been experimenting with polenta lately. One of my trials were polenta madeleines (beautiful yellow colour, crunchy and not too sweet - to be repeated). I have also been thinking about making a polenta cake with apples. What I had in mind was a tall round cake with neatly arranged apples on top. There is a traditional recipe from the canton de Vaud (the lake of geneva region) using polenta, semolina, raisins and apples*. Ilva did a blue grape and polenta cake this summer, using only polenta in the base. I went somewhere inbetween and made my own version of a

Polenta cake with apples (makes a round 23cm-diameter cake)

  • 3dl milk
  • one large piece of lemon peel
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 250 very fine-grained polenta
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1oog sugar
  • 130g flour
  • 1 teaspoon each of baking powder and bicarbonate of soda
  • 2-3 apples
  • some sugar for sprinkling on the apples
Place the milk, butter, lemon peel and salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the polenta, stirring vigurously to prevent it from going lumpy. Remove from the heat and let stand for thirty minutes. Remove the lemon peel and pour the polenta into a large bowl and add the eggs, one after the others, stirring well. Add the sugar (taste some of the batter, add more sugar if you like you cake sweeter). Sift in the flour mixed wih the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Stir delicately until the flour is well incorporated. Add a little more milk if the batter seems too dry, you should have a thickenish, creamy consistency. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Peel the apples and cut into thin wedges. Carefully place on top of the batter, arranging them in a ringshape. (I think I'd be nice to add a middle layer of fruit to the cake. In this case, pour half the batter into the cake tin, place a layer of apples on it, then pour in the rest of the batter and proceed as described.) Sprinkle the apples with some more sugar. Bake in the preheated oven at 200° for about 45 minutes. A knife inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean. Place on a wire rack and let cool.

Very good with a cup of Earl Grey on a cool november afternoon.

* I'm intrigued with the origins of that recipe, especially since I know that polenta was not used in the German speaking parts of this country until the 20th century when Italian immigrants first introduced it. I did some cake research but haven't been able to find anything out. I'll keep looking, though.

1 comment:

loupiti said...

Très joli gateau, je n'ai pas encore essayé de dessert à la polenta et ca me tente bien.
Merci pour ta visite et ton gentil commentaire