So I have to say I was a bit excited to see how this week’s TWD challenge would turn out. The chosen recipe from Baking: From My Home to Yours was Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake selected by Caitlin of Engineer Baker. Honestly, I never would have decided to make this on my own. The two main ingredients are not amongst my favorites, especially Ricotta. I have read Baking cover to cover many times and did not remember this recipe so in the past I must have seen the words “Polenta and Ricotta” together and went “Nope, don’t think so!” and quickly turned the page.
I always like it when preconceived notions and automatic negative reactions turn out to be smiles and “well, that wasn’t bad at all”s in the end. Thanks Caitlin for picking out this recipe and making me expand my horizons! I had fun with this one.
I was really pleased with how this cake turned out. The taste was good, although I cut the sugar down a little so it wouldn’t be as sweet (based on comments left by some on the P&Q post). I had a small problem finding figs where I live though. Eventually, I stopped by the Dutch Market just to check one last place and they did have figs, but only Calimyrnas so that’s what I went with. One thing I wasn’t too sure about with this cake was the chilled butter that’s placed on top before baking… because it left little sink holes in the top of the cake when all was said and done. Not sure why this happens or if adding the butter is really even a necessary step. Maybe brushing some on instead of using chilled bits would not cause sink holes?? But I do agree with Dorie about how this cake is better the second day. The honey stands out more.
See you next Tuesday for next week’s selection Peanut Butter Torte. Yeah, baby!
Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake
adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours
Makes 8 servings
About 16 moist, plump dried Mission or Kadota figs (stems removed)
1 cup medium-grain polenta or yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup ricotta
1/3 cup tepid water
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup honey (regular of full flavored such as chestnut, pine or buckwheat)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus 1 tablespoon, cut into bits and chilled
2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 325 degrees with rack centered in the middle of the oven. Butter 10.5 inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom and place on baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone mat. (I forgot to line the pan but didn’t seem to have any problems from not having it.)
If figs are not moist and plump, boil a small pan of water and let them steep for about a minute. Drain, pat dry. If they are too large, cut them into bite sized pieces. (I had to steep the figs and cut them into very small pieces.)
Whisk all dry ingredients (polenta, flour, baking powder and salt) together in a bowl.
Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or hand held mixer, beat ricotta and water together on low speed until the mixture is very smooth. Add sugar, honey, lemon zest to the ricotta mixture and beat until light on medium speed. Beat in melted, cooled butter and then add eggs one at a time until the mixture is smooth. Reduce speed to low again and add dry ingredients. Only mix until fully incorporated.
Pour 1/3 of batter into prepared pan and place figs on top. Pour in the rest of the batter to cover the figs and smooth if necessary. Next, dot the top of the batter evenly with the chilled butter bits. (After baking, this chilled butter seems to leave sink holes in the top of the cake for some reason.)
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into center comes out clean. The cake should be a nice honey color and pulling away a little from the sides of the pan. Transfer cake to a cooling rack and remove sides of pan after five minutes.
Cool completely, or cool to warm. Then Enjoy!
Make sure you wrap the cakes in plastic. Ok to keep for up to five days stored at room temperature. Or freeze for up to 2 months, defrosting in the wrapper.
Changes I made:
Used Calimyrna Figs instead of Mission or Kadota
Cut recipe in half and baked in four 4 x 1 inch tart pans
Cut down the sugar around 1/4 of a cup
Used dried lemon zest in place of fresh
*baking between 30 and 35 minutes seems good when using the smaller tart pans. i began checking and re-checking after 20 minutes because i freak out about every little thing.
Seriously. It doesn’t get much better than these Apple Dumplings from The Pioneer Woman Cooks! website. I mean, it just doesn’t. I’ve been looking at these for a while and wondering if I should make them because I am *supposed* to be on a diet. Now I have no problem sticking to my diet from about 10pm to 5am… when I’m in bed asleep. But the rest of the time is a struggle because I absolutely love sugar, pasta, bread and some extra sugar. You know, all those “white poisons” I always hear are just what you should stay away from. But who needs all that stress in their life that comes with denying yourself pleasure from certain foods? Especially ones like these apple dumplings? Not me!
These are so easy to make. There’s very few ingredients. Nothing fancy or complicated, especially the “secret” ingredient that I think is what takes these to the next level taste wise.
The great thing about these is how crusty the top gets. And it’s all sugary. Another plus.
But then the bottom is a totally different texture. It’s soft from the apples and the dough cooking in all that good secret ingredient liquid. I was a huge fan of this texture difference. My boyfriend also really liked these and he rarely likes anything sweet.
Ice cream is a nice addition to lots of extra sauce from the bottom of the pan spooned over everything.
Ree’s Pioneer Woman site is a must read of mine everyday. She has a TON of readers, so a lot of people probably already know or have at least heard of her, but if you haven’t check out her site here. She always has funny and heartwarming stories to share about herself, her family and country life on a ranch. She has great sections on cooking, photography and Photoshop tips. I’ve made three things from her cooking site now: Best Lasagna Ever, Sherried Tomato Soup and now these Apple Dumplings. All three recipes turned out awesome AND passed the boyfriend test, too. (Which is not easy to do!) Her site really stands apart from other ones because she does a step-by-step approach to each step to a recipe, complete with photos. You feel like “This looks easy! I think I can do it!” once you see it broken down in that way. Plus, she interjects her humor throughout which is much better than just the usual reading of “Put all ingredients in a bowl and stir”.
Apple Dumpling recipe can be found here. You must make these like… tonight. Please don’t be like me and forget the cinnamon on top before putting in the oven. I said in my last post that I always get ahead of myself and end up forgetting something once I get in the middle of things. Although, even without the cinnamon these were delicious so I’ll have to try them again with the cinnamon to get the full intended effect. Um, I sure hope I can handle it!
I think we should break up.
Well, I haven’t officially joined up with the Tuesdays with Dorie group yet. I wanted to make sure I could at least complete one of the weekly baking items (I’m very bad on follow through) before I signed up. And I did complete Bill’s Big Carrot Cake. Go me!
This was actually my first homemade carrot cake. I’ve never had to make one because my Dad always buys them for me. One time when my Dad and I were having dinner at a buffet, I must have gone back to get carrot cake about three times. I couldn’t help it, it was *really* good there. So, carrot cakes started showing up on my birthday, for the holidays, etc sort of as a gag gift. Now, it’s tradition that one of these huge monstrosities shows up on all the important days throughout the year… complete with huge orange carrots all over it. I’m so used to it now, I think I would be upset if for some reason I didn’t get one.
Anyway, this cake had a lot going on with it in terms of how big the recipe seemed to be. But once you get down to it, it really wasn’t that bad. And because I’m terrible with following directions and I always skip ahead and miss something along the way, I really do appreciate how Dorie’s recipes are laid out and how detailed they are. It makes everything seem so much easier to follow.
I baked a mini version since it’s only me I’m baking for around here and I had a terrible time getting the cake level and have it stand up straight. You can tell from the picture that it was a little slanted (and that’s even after I straightened up the pic with editing software) but who cares about that, it tasted awesome! I was kind of wary about using the coconut because I can’t stand the texture of it, but I really thought it was a nice addition. This was a great version of Carrot Cake and if the gag with my Dad ever runs out, I’ll turn to this recipe to fill the void.
Bill’s Big Carrot Cake was chosen by Amanda of Slow Like Honey. I absolutely love this blog!
See you next week for the Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake!
I had been wanting to make the “Falling In Love” pie from the movie Waitress for a while. I finally got around to it late Sunday night and… Oh, it is love. Chocolate, some more chocolate and a little more chocolate. Everything a girl could ever want. Mmmm Hmmm.
It’s really easy to make too. The hardest part was waiting at least four hours for it to set. Since I started so late, I had to go to bed without trying it knowing that I would get to eat some in the morning. Well, I was up at 5:00 the next morning and downstairs opening up the fridge at 5:01. The ingredients are very basic, nothing too fancy. But it tastes gooood. Real good. The only thing I changed from the original “Falling In Love” pie was that I used a graham cracker crust. No big deal.
Chocolate Lovers must try this pie. Like… Tonight. And if you haven’t seen Waitress yet, run out to Blockbuster and rent it. It will give you something to do during your four hour wait.
“Falling In Love” Chocolate Mousse Pie. Enjoy!
Add some chocolate shavings if you want to get fancy. I did. I like fancy stuff.
Falling In Love Pie from the movie Waitress, please check out the recipe HERE.