had a lot of pots on the fire this week and I was hoping to share some of the contents with you. And I will… but today I want to keep it simple. So here’s a favorite dessert recipe from my file. It’s a rustic Italian cake made with lots of lemon and crunchy stoneground cornmeal – polenta.
It’s the sort of peasant-style dessert I love. You could cut it into squares and eat it with your hands like a bite of coffee cake, or sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve alongside a generous pile of whatever summer fruit is the sweetest at the moment.
1 cup polenta, or coarse-ground cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 egg whites
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons grated fresh lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place an oven rack in the center of the oven.
- Line the bottom of an 8-inch cake pan or standard loaf pan with lightly oiled parchment paper to fit.
- Whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
- Beat the eggs, egg whites and sugar in a heavy-duty stand mixer until pale and creamy. On low speed, mix in the oil. butter, yogurt, lemon zest and juice.
- Stir in the dry ingredients until just blended. Pour the batter into the pan and bake 35 - 40 minutes, or until the top feels firm (not hard) and a toothpick inserted in the center of cake come out clean. Cool completely before serving.