Thursday, 17 April 2014

Gluten-free orange and rosemary polenta cake

The pending move is doing my head in. See, I hate moving. And packing in general. It isn't until you're moving to another place that you realize just how much stuff you've managed to amass. You'll come across mountains of boxes in the attic that you've not even opened since the previous relocation. Which turn out to house stuff you don't even know why you held onto. All episodes from Jeeves on VHS for instance. I've never even owned a VHS- player! Oh, and metres and metres of C-tapes (apparently there was a time in my past when I genuinely appreciated the extraordinary musical talent of Janet Jackson and Haddaway...)

And packing - that's never been one of my strengths. These days I draw (an illustrated)list of what to pack as soon as I've booked the flights. Which is called for, as I recall one trip to Ireland for which I'd forgotten to pack any underwear. Which didn't really matter in the end either as I also forgot to wake up that morning and missed my flight altogether...

So far my contribution to the test of organizational skills and sense of logistics has been going through and minimizing the contents of my pantry. Yes, baking. The latest result was this gluten-free polenta cake that was inspired by the success of the polenta fries. It gets its tangy juiciness from oranges and a little something extra from rosemary. That wonderfully fragrant herb is a firm favourite of mine and works well in desserts, too as lemon and rosemary crème brûlées, rosemary and damson flan and these lemony pudding cakes demonstrated.

Instead of orange, you could use lemon too. And in case your guests don't have issues with gluten, you can substitute almond flour with all purpose flour. Alcohol can be omitted (in that case do use the zest of 3 oranges!) but Limoncello (for lemon dishes) and Cointreau (for orange dishes) just add such hard-to-replicate citrusy depth which takes the flavour to a whole new level! Just try this Tagliatelle alla Pollo con Limoncello!





Orange and polenta cake:

200 g butter
150 g sugar
150 g almond flour
2 dl (appr. 140 gr) finely ground polenta
1,5 tsp baking powder
finely grated zest of 3 oranges and the juice of 2 oranges 
(1 generous tbsp Cointreau/ Grand Marnier/ Triple Sec in which case zest of 2 oranges is enough)
3 eggs
1,5 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

Take the butter into room temperature well in advance. Combine dry ingredients. You can also speed the softening by chopping it into small cubes. Beat with sugar into pale yellow froth and then add eggs, one at a time. Then add orange zest, the juice of 2 oranges and finally the dry ingredients.

Pour the mixture into a spring form pan you've lined with parchment (mine measured 20 cm) and bake at 175 for 70-75 minutes. As the cake cooks, it starts pulling away from the edges and a skewer comes out almost dry. Remove from the oven and let cool in the tin. In the meanwhile make the orange syrup.

Orange and rosemary syrup:

the juice of 1 orange (1 dl)
1 dl sugar
1 sprig of rosemary

Measure the ingredients into a heavy-based pan. bring to boil and then reduce the heat. Let simmer away for about 5 minutes. Let cool and drain.

Prick the surface of the cake with a toothpick-like-device of your liking. Careful though as it is moist and therefore cracks fairly easily. Pour the syrup on top and let it soak for about half an hour. Then flip it over and remove the parchment. This way the perfectly flat bottom becomes the top and the syrup soaks thoroughly into the cake.

Decorate with orange slices and rosemary sprigs. Or with cream. Or mascarpone mousse.

And mamma mia! I know this was supposed to be a treat for my gluten-intolerant colleagues but you know what? I'll just bake another one. This one I'll eat all by myself...!





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ANYONE FOR SECONDS?


      


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