I am a polenta girl. I grew up eating chargrilled polenta with milk and honey for breakfast every day which was very soothing during the cold winter months of Northern Italy.
Polenta has that comfort feeling to it: it is warm, it is rustic and it is delicious. I am a purist when it comes to polenta. I love to cook it nice and slowly for a good 50 minutes. Therefore stoneground, wholemeal organic polenta is my favourite.
Outside of Italy it is not always easy to find that sort of polenta. Generally speaking Italian food that I have found so far in the UK it's OK but the majority of it has been brought in by large corporations, therefore it is very commercial and not necessarily and always the best. Years ago I tried importing (on a very small scale) some artisan Italian food but I found that you just cannot compete with large corporations who buy large quantities and get good deals. So I am quite happy to bring in my own food like Parmesan cheese and polenta flour whenever I visit my Italian relatives.
And talking about polenta here you have a rustic polenta and almond cake with olive oil. I found lots of wild apples, all of different shapes and sizes (I love that!) and I needed to use them up. Apple cakes are always the best.
This is a crumbly-delicate cake so it is best to bake it on parchment paper.
- Prep Time : 25 minutes
- Cook Time : 50 minutes
- almond meal - 100 g - 7/8 cup
- yellow corn meal (polenta flour) - 100 g - 2/3 cup
- baking powder (gluten free if you are a celiac) - 2 tsp
- corn flour or rice flour - 40 g - 1/3 cup
- extra virgin olive oil - 50 ml - 1.7 fl oz
- eggs - 2
- sugar - 120 g - 1/2 cup
- apples - 3 large
- almond shavings - for the topping
- brown sugar - to sprinkle
Cut two apples into cubes and thinly slice the other one. Mix them up with lemon juice.
Whip the eggs up with the sugar until soft and fluffy. Add the oil, the corn flour, the corn meal, the baking powder and the almond meal. Gently mix then add the apple cubes and stir all the ingredients well together. If you find that the consistency of the cake is too dry you can add a little bit of milk.
Line a round mold measuring approx 22 cm or 9 inch with parchment paper. Pour in the cake mixture and level it well with the back of a spoon.
Wet the almond shavings with a little water. Place the apple slices on top, sprinkle the almond shavings on top and some brown sugar. Bake at 175C or 350F for 50 minutes. Check the cake after 35 minutes with a toothpick. If after 50 minutes you will find that it still is too moist inside leave it in the switched off oven with the door left adjar for a little longer. If you find that during cooking the topping gets too brown cover it up with tinfoil.