The name reads really well – the sort of high maintenance dish that requires hours of dedicated work in the kitchen. The truth is that it is a lot easier to bake than it sounds… After all, it is a slightly modified pound cake, with 2 very easy elements on the side. The cake itself has a pleasantly crumbly and grainy texture, ideal to combine with the rosemary infused honey. The creamy mascarpone sauce just makes everything come together. Try it with a double expresso for even better results…
Polenta cake with mascarpone and rosemary (adapted from a Eddie Russel recipe found in Food and Wine Magazine)
- 1 3/4 cup (=220g) flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 cup (=65g) polenta
- Pinch of salt
- 2 sticks (=220g) of unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup (110g) of sugar
- 6 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup honey
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 rosemary sprigs
- 1 cup (=225g) mascarpone, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (200mL) heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
Preheat the oven to 325°F (= 190°C). Butter and flour a metal loaf pan. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the polenta and salt.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the softened butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon juice.
Gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, beating the batter at low speed until just incorporated. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour, until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
Turn the cake onto a rack and let it cool until warm.
In a small saucepan, combine the honey with the water and rosemary sprigs and simmer over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Let the syrup cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Discard the rosemary sprigs. While the cake is still warm, lightly brush the top of the cake with the rosemary syrup.
In a medium bowl, whisk the mascarpone with the cream, sugar and vanilla-bean seeds.
Using a serrated knife, cut the cake into thick slices and transfer to plates. Top each slice with a large dollop of mascarpone, drizzle with the rosemary syrup and serve.
It was not my intention to make this a polenta cook-off between two of the best chefs in the world… Adrià’s polenta is a very popular dish in this blog, and I get to cook it often. However, this polenta looked so creamy and fluffy, I had to give it a go… The mobile calorie intake units My guests got a bit worried about the extra calories, but ate it all without too much complaining. The general consensus was that it was indeed creamy – a bit too much even.
- 1.5 L (=6 cups) of chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- salt to taste
- about 500g of coarse polenta
- 600 mL (=2.5 cups) of heavy cream
- 170 grams ( =12 tablespoons ) of unsalted butter cut into pieces
- freshly ground salt and pepper
- olive oil
Combine the stock, garlic and sprinkle with salt in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Pour in the polenta in stream and cook over low heat, stirring often, stirring often, for about 20min, until the polenta is quite dry and coats the bottom of the pan. The moisture must evaporate, because it will be replaced with fat.
In the meanwhile, warm the cream in a small pan
Increase the cream under the polenta to medium and stir in the butter. Add a cream, about half a cup at the time, and let the polenta absorb it all before adding more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
…and this is the polenta I did to go with with the pork loin with roasted peppers and garlic & parsley olive oil. Also a Ferran Adrià’s The Family Meal dish, it is über-delicious and creamy. Probably the best polenta I ever had. For sure, I will do it again. M. even suggest it might go well with Portuguese style codfish.
Polenta and parmesan gratin
Ingredients (for 6)
- 900ml water
- 150g polenta (quick cook variety, which will take about 5-10min to get ready)
- 300ml whipping cream
- 2 teaspoon butter
- 120g Parmesan cheese finely grated
- 4 tablespoon Parmesan for the gratin
Pre-heat the grill to high (top shelf of stove, about 180oC)
Poor the water into a saucepan and bring to boil. Sprinkle in the polenta a little at the time, whisking continuously.
When all the polenta has been added, cook for 2 minutes over a medium heat, whisking continuously.
Pour in the cream and cook for another 2 minutes.
Gradually add the first quantity of Parmesan cheese and add the butter.
Keep whisking until the polenta has thickened. Season with salt.
Poor the polenta into a large backing tray or heatproof dish. The polenta should be about 1 cm deep.
Leave the polenta to stand 5 minutes and then sprinkle with the second quantity of grated Parmesan.
Put in the stove and grill until the cheese is golden and bubbling.