A couple of months ago, I started noticing posts from a newly formed group called Tuesdays with Dorie or TWD. TWD is a group of baking enthusiasts and Dorie Greenspan fans, whose mission is to bake their way through Dorie's cult classic, Baking: From My Home to Yours. Each week a new recipe from the book is selected, and the TWD members bake and post about it. It sounded like a great idea! I already had the book and used it frequently. I would have joined right then and there, but after recently having joined the venerable Daring Bakers, I just didn't know if I had the time to commit.
After drooling over week after week of fabulous Dorie-inspired creations, I could stand it no more. I wanted in. So, here I am presenting my first offering as an official member of Tuesdays with Dorie, and I couldn't be happier!
When I learned that this week's recipe, chosen by Caitlin of Engineer Baker, was Dorie's Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake, I breathed a little sigh of relief. It is not a very fussy or complicated cake to make. I figured that I couldn't possibly mess it up. Perfect for my TWD debut.
My end result confirmed my suspicions. This cake definitely had the same grainy texture as cornbread, but was a lot more delicious. With it's earthy, honey undertones and sweet, chewy figs, it has earned its place in Dorie's repertoire. Surprisingly, my fourteen year-old daughter loved it and ate two pieces. For "Miss OMG, I Can't Eat THAT! It's WAAAAAY to Fattening!!!", that was major! This will never be one of my favorites, but added to the equation of good friends and good coffee, I think it would be quite nice.
Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake
About 16 moist, plump dried Mission or Kadota figs, stemmed
Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 10 ½-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
Whisk the polenta, flour, baking powder, and salt together.
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the ricotta and water together on low speed until very smooth. With the mixer at medium speed, add the sugar, honey, and lemon zest and beat until light. Beat in the melted butter, then add the eggs one at a time, beating until the mixture is smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are fully incorporated. You’ll have a sleek, smooth, pourable batter.
Pour about one third of the batter into the pan and scatter over the figs. Pour in the rest of the batter, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, if necessary, and dot the batter evenly with the chilled bits of butter.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. The cake should be honey brown and pulling away just a little from the sides of the pan, and the butter will have left light-colored circles in the top.
Transfer the cake to a rack and remove the sides of the pan after about 5 minutes. Cool to warm, or cool completely.