Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lemons and Rosemary and Polenta Oh My

If you follow Orangette then you recently read her blog on polenta.  I love  good polenta and after reading her blog my polenta craving started.  I don't know about you but when a craving starts with me it's all or nothing.  I either ignore it completely and free myself from the crazy obsession that I know lurks just around the corner.  Or I give in ,open my arms wide and welcome the obsession into my life.  And then there is a funny kind of serendipity that seems to occur when I'm getting ready to enter the craving zone- I start to run into all kinds of things associated with that craving, articles,colors,songs-you know what I mean?
Here's a good example,yesterday I read Orangette's article on polenta, gave into the craving and embraced the obsession.  I was just getting ready to google for some ideas for a recipe when I decided to read the NY Times and catch up on the world outside my kitchen. At the bottom of the front page my interest was piqued by the "Opinion" category.  It wasn't just a news article title,  it was an illustration of the beginnings of a recipe .

See what I mean, wouldn't that illustration make you want to read more ?  So I clicked on the title of the article "All-Nighters: Shapton's In the Night Kitchen".  And discovered a lovely essay by Leanne Shapton,  accompanied by a little magical illustration of the recipe's ingredients.  Take the time to read the essay-it will confirm the obsession we all have when it comes to baking or cooking -can't sleep at night get up and bake !  Anyway back to my obsessive craving for polenta.  After reading Leanne's essay I knew my craving would only be satisfied by some type of polenta cake.  After searching and comparing ingredients in various recipes I decided this one by Ed Schneider, "Lemon Rosemary Polenta Cake with Lemon Rosemary Syrup", would be the cake that would conquer my obsessive craving for polenta.  The recipe was  published by Mark Bittman under his Bitten Blog in the New York Times.
PS The name of the cake is so long that you may lose your craving in the time it takes to say it but even just saying it -can't you smell the rosemary, can't you taste the creamy lemony polenta? You can't stop, I know you are licking the syrup off of your finger tips! Wouldn't it be the perfect cake to be eating out on the patio, under the lemon trees in the South of France ? Some women may chant-Calgon take me away-not me I'll be chanting Lemon Rosemary Polenta Cake with Lemon Rosemary Syrup take me away.....


Preheat the oven to 360 degrees
Butter and flour a 9" spring form cake pan

1 stick of unsalted butter-4oz
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 scant teaspoon of fine salt
3/4 cup good quality medium grind polenta
4 eggs-room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 1/2 lemons
2 teaspoons of finely chopped fresh rosemary

Melt a stick of unsalted butter and set it aside to cool
Combine a cup and a half of flour, two teaspoons of baking powder, a scant teaspoon of fine salt and three quarters cup of good medium-grind polenta
Using an electric mixer, whip four room-temperature eggs and three quarters cup sugar until they are airy and more than doubled in volume; toward the end, add the grated zest of one and a half lemons and two teaspoons of very finely chopped fresh rosemary.
Carefully fold in about a third of the dry ingredients and then half of the melted butter; repeat until everything is incorporated. Scrape into the cake pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes; the sides should slightly come away from the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. It should be well baked; more moisture will be added later.
TIP: I used my silicone muffin pans for these-I got 12 3" cakes and they baked in about 1/2 the time

Lemon Rosemary Syrup
1 large branch of rosemary-chopped
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
zest of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon

Make this syrup while the cake is in the oven. Strip the leaves from a big branch of rosemary and chop them up. Put a half cup of water and a third cup of sugar on the heat; when the sugar has dissolved, add the rosemary and the zest of half a lemon. Bring to a boil, and let it steep for 15 minutes, then strain and reserve. Before using, add the juice of one lemon.
TIP: I doubled the amount of lemon zest just because I like more tartness in my simple syrup

When the cake has cooled for 10 minutes, spoon the syrup evenly over the cake (still in the pan). Let it soak and cool in the pan, then remove. Serve at room temperature.

Ed suggested a side of whipped cream or a rhubarb compote ! I opted for the whipped cream- Bon Appetit..


Denise said...

We've been making more polenta lately - love it for breakfast with a poached egg on top. This cake sounds really refreshing and I know of a lemon tree in our neighbor's yard and a rosemary bush in ours! Thank you for visiting my blog and introducing me to yours!

bellini valli said...

Lemon is my chocolate so I have no trouble trying any recipe with lemon as the star.

Seattle Pastry Girl said...

Denise,I'm jealous of that lemon tree in your neighbor's yard. I've been nursing one thru 2 winters in Seattle now-so far I harvested 2 little lemons last summer- we shall see what this summer brings !

Seattle Pastry Girl said...

Val, Have you ever tried Alice Medrich's Iced Citron vodka chocolates with fresh mint ? That's on one of my recipe to do lists-it's in her Pure Dessert book and the picture makes me want to devour the paper !

Anonymous said...