My grandmother came from a little village in the countryside, in a place where you would only see the odd tractor passing by every 3 hours or so.
She was very advanced for those days, in the 70s, when less people knew about healthy eating. She fully embraced a macrobiotic diet to survive her serious chronic gut problems and she was successful. Even her dog was given potatoes with vegetables, meat and polenta for lunch which she would cook up for him. That dog lived until he was 16. We thought granny was kind of batty and too fixated with her diets but we also felt this was part of her charm. Despite her weak constitution she peacefully died aged 90 with no signs of dementia whatsoever.
She just sprang to my mind today when her handwritten recipe just magically fell from a book whilst I was tidying up. It was her polenta cake with nuts which so must reminds me of my time with her.
This cake resembles very much the Italian Sbrisolona cake but as this was her own recipe and slightly different from the original I won't call it like that.
Whatever the name if you make this you will enjoy it. It is rustic, crumbly and moreish, one of those wholesome rustic cakes which "taste" of grandma!
- Prep Time : 20 minutes
- Cook Time : 40 minutes
- yellow corn meal (polenta flour) - 120 g - just over 1 cup
- plain flour - 100 g - slightly less than 1 cup
- baking powder - 2 tsp
- butter - 130 g - 1/2 cup
- caster sugar - 100 g - 1/2 cup
- vanilla essence - 1 tsp
- egg - 1
- mixed nuts of your choice (halzenuts, wholenuts, almonds, macademia nuts..) - 100 g - 2/3 cup
- powdered (icing sugar) - to sprinkle
- a few extra nuts for the topping
Take the butter out of the fridge to soften a little. Grind the nuts using a food processor.
Corn flour has a more rustic and heavier consistency than ordinary wheat flour. This will give the cake a very interesting texture.
In a bowl work the butter with the sugar, the egg, the ground nuts and the vanilla until soft and creamy.
Add the polenta and the plain flour with the baking powder and mix well.
Put the mixture on a round baking tin (26 cm or 10 inch diameter) covered with parchment paper. Use your hands to spread it well and evenly on your tin.
Gently press a handful of whole nuts on top and cook at 180C - 350F for 40 minutes.
When the cake has cooled down sprinkle it with a little powdered sugar.