Oh, and this is my entry for this months ‘Waiter, there’s something in my…’ fruit and nuts.
I can’t for the life of me tell you why I wanted to make this cake. The ingredients appeal to me mostly, separately, but combined? Why? In fact, I almost didn’t make it, see its true, I admit it. I don’t like polenta. What was that? I know, i know. I never did get on that savoury polenta kick, and the few times I make Jamie Oliver’s orange and polenta crisps they turned out more gritty and grainy than, uh, crisp.
And even more strangely is that the recipe came out of the newspaper. It’s not that I have anything against the newspaper, but I (almost) used to work for the people who write these recipes, and I have been sorely disappointed by their weekly offerings ever since they took over the reins. A few weeks ago they printed a recipe for Beef Dumpling soup which I got a little excited about until I read the words “Bought Dumplings”. Even the recipe above ‘the cake I nearly didn’t make’ was terribly close to making me prematurely turn the page – Broccoli, Anchovy and Chilli Linguine, is a recipe for that even necessary?
To further emphasize how amazing it is that I made the cake (that I almost didn’t make), in the usually ridiculous newspaper recipe section it was named ‘Pine Nut and Rosemary Shortcake’. See, I would have skipped right over a recipe for a pine nut and rosemary cake, how boring and trendy, but this name really missed the point. The highlight of this dish is the way the sweet chewy figs mingle with the mild polenta, offset by hits of nutty pine nuts, the whole combination lifted by an undertone of earthy rosemary. The nuts and herb are not the stars here, the whole combination is what makes this cake a winner. Despite the fact that I barely changed the recipe, I am going to rename it Polenta, Fig, Rosemary and Pine Nut Cake.
Look past the individual ingredients, this cake is more than just the sum of its parts, and it is terribly easy to make, hell F.’s asked me what I was doing, half way through, surprised he responded ‘well, i’ve never seen anyone make a cake in a frypan before’.
Polenta, Fig, Rosemary and Pine Nut Cake.
2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
125g Caster Sugar
60g Pine Nuts
180g Dried Figs, stem removed and cut into pieces
1 tsp finely chopped fresh Rosemary
115g plain flour.
Preheat Oven to 200C.
Grease a 22cm cake tin (I used springform), the coat with flour, tapping out the excess.
Bring water to the boil. Add polenta in a steady stream, stirring constantly. Add olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring for another 30 seconds or until the polenta starts to come away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and add the butter, sugar, nuts, figs, flour, rosemary and egg. Stir to combine.
Spoon into prepared pan and flatten top with spatula.
Bake for 45mins remove from oven and cool slightly before turning out.
Serve cold by itself or with thick greek yoghurt or cream.