Monday, June 25, 2012

rhubarb polenta cake

Our CSA was brimming with gorgeous rhubarb this week, and while this jam is delicious, it was about time to try out something new. Enter the polenta rhubarb cake, adapted a bit from Nigel Slater's lovely fruit book, Ripe. The crust is nice and crumbly and a bit cornbread-ish, perfect for soaking up the sweet-tart rhubarb, which up until now I had always paired with berries (and I'm sure you could do here with great success, too).

Rhubarb Polenta Cake adapted from Nigel Slater's recipe

1. Preheat oven to 350. Chop 1 pound of rhubarb into 2-inch pieces, throw into a baking pan and sprinkle with 4 tablespoons of water and 1/4 cup sugar. Bake for 30 minutes or until the rhubarb is nice and soft.

2. Combine 3/4 cup polenta, 1 1/2 cups AP flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and a dash or two of cinnamon. Add the zest of one orange (as per his recipe) or lemon (as per mine), and 10 tablespoons of butter. Mix until the dough clumps into pea-sized pieces, then add 1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons milk, and combine (you can add more milk to get it nice and sticky). Press about 2/3rds of the dough into the bottom of a greased 8-inch pan (he recommends springform). I went with a 10-inch tart pan, because it's what I had on hand, and while everything was a bit more spread out, it was very tasty!

3. Put the baked rhubarb on top, minus any juices, and top with the remaining crumbles of dough. Sprinkle a bit of coarse sugar on top and pop into the oven for 45-55 minutes, until golden brown. Let it cool a bit and enjoy on its own or with some cream, custard, or creme fraiche!

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