May 09, 2011

Pistachio polenta cake with mandarin syrup and figs


Those gorgeous figs I bought from the farm the other day have been patiently waiting for the perfect recipe. I wanted to make something where the fresh figs would compliment the flavours and not be overpowered by anything else. This pistachio and polenta cake makes a perfect companion to the ripe and sweet figs and it was a lovely treat for an afternoon tea on Mother's Day.  

You'll notice I've used more sugar than perhaps my average sweet recipes. You could probably use only about 50g and it would be sweet enough - I suggest using natural brown sugar or raw sugar. Instead of the gluten-free flour mix I've used you could mix your own from brown rice flour, sourghum or teff, for instance.
This would work well with orange juice as well, but mandarins are aplenty at the moment, so I've opted for them instead.


Pistachio polenta cake with mandarin syrup and figs
(Recipe adapted from taste.com.au)

40g shelled pistachios
4 large free-range eggs, separated
70g natural brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated mandarin zest
125ml fresh mandarin juice
80g polenta
110 g gluten-free flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
tiny pinch of salt

Mandarin syrup

125ml fresh mandarin juice
60ml maple syrup
1 heaped tablespoon manuka honey
1 teaspoon natural raw vanilla sugar

fresh figs, quartered, to serve

* I used plain gluten-free flour (Orgran brand) which is a mixture of maize starch, tapioca flour and rice flour.

1. Preheat your oven to 180C and grease a 22 cm round cake tin. Line the cake tin with baking paper.

2. Place the pistachio kernels in a food processor and blitz until fine.

3. Combine the egg yolks and the sugar in a large mixing bowl and whisk with electric beaters until pale and thick. 

4. Add in the mandarin zest and juice, pistachios, polenta and flour mixed with baking powder. Stir until smooth.

5. Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the polenta mixture.

6. Pour the cake batter into the tin and bake for 30 minutes.

7. For the mandarin syrup, combine the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat through. Spoon 3-4 tablespoons of the syrup onto the cake (whilst still slightly warm in the tin) and serve the rest of the syrup, along with fresh figs, with the cake.



43 comments:

  1. Looks so good Maria.You have done a commendable job baking with polenta.YUM!

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  2. This looks amazing- I love anything baked with polenta, the texture is always amazing!

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  3. oh these are beautiful!!!

    Can I ask you a technical question? How do you get two photos next to each other? Do you do that in your posting or in a photo editor? THANKS!!

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  4. Figs- now that is something I do not cook enough with. I am not sure why. A little intimated with what to do with them but then I see you making this fantastic dessert and I am excited to experiment more with figs, hope your having a great day and thanks so much for the comment today . It was so sweet!

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  5. Lovely cake! I adore cakes that are soaked in syrup like this, and those juicy figs. Yummo!

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  6. That cake must be so delicious!

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  7. This is exactly the kind of cake I like with my tea....and those figs???? I only find ones like that on my mom's tree. Gorgeous!

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  8. This looks amazing, i would love it! A perfect mother days treat :)

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  9. I can't get enough of figs too! Love the combo of fig with pistachio. Perfect flavours to go with the polenta cake.

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  10. Beautiful! My parents have a fig tree in their backyard and I cant wait for it to bear fruit!

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  11. I love all these flavours! Such a beautiful combination.

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  12. Wow! I love the look of those fresh figs! And the cake looks simply delicious!

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  13. Polenta, pistachios, and figs are some of my favourite things! I'd have to make this without the citrus, though, as it is neither my nor my mother's friend... Looks gorgeous though!

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  14. Your posts are always fantastic! Replacing gluten and dairy in baking quite often means you need more eggs which is not good for cholesterol sufferer like myself, but still have managed to find a few good recipes from your archives :)

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  15. Juicy figs and a lovely cake with polenta ... also the Mandarin syrup make the dish more tempting!

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  16. Such an incredible looking cake with polenta!You have got my favorite flavors working in here

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  17. Hi Maria! Oh my goodness... your pictures are killing me. It looks SO GOOD! I love how you added perfectly ripen figs on top.

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  18. This polenta cake screams DELICIOUS and those figs are simply gorgeous :-D

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  19. Wow, I've never made a polenta cake, definitely want to give it a try!
    Also, I can't wait to be a mum if I eventually get food like this, lol.

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  20. Una delizia le foto sono molto invitanti ♥ ciao

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  21. Pistachio anything is pretty delicious but in a polenta cake sounds like a healthy way to enjoy cake! The fig is just a little treat isn't it!

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  22. you are a cooking queen. your regular posts are wonderful not to mention the variety of the food you create. this cake is on my list to make for a bbq this weekend. i am certain there won't be any left to bring home so i may have to make two.

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  23. I have been bookmarking all of your fig recipes like mad for when they finally arrive in our markets and this is no exception! That cake also sounds fantastic!

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  24. This is such a great recipe!

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  25. This cake sounds incredible with pistachios and mandarin syrup and love the figs on top too. Nice!

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  26. I LOVE fresh figs. What a wonderful recipe with the polenta. I bet it adds such a wonderful texture.

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  27. The cake looks awesome and love the fig topping.

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  28. Are fresh figs in season? I feel out of the loop that I didn't know that. I absolutely adore figs. They look great on top of this cake too. But I'm not sure if I'd be able to wait for the cake to finish before those figs went into my mouth!

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  29. Another mouth watering recipe/photos! I love pistachios and figs...

    I have a question...have you made gluten- and milk/butter-free pulla? A friend brought over some "regular" pulla this morning (her sister is visiting from Finland...their mother is Finnish, their father is Japanese :-) and it was so delicious. I want to give GFCF pulla a try!

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  30. Whoa! That looks insanely moist! Delicious.
    US Masala

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  31. Oooh! Figs! One of my favourite fruits! I must try this.

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  32. Oh, I LOVE polenta cakes, and yours look perfect! I've only ever served them with vegetarian chili (the recipe is on my blog), but I love your idea of making them a sweet treat! This looks so delicious and decadent, Maria. Thanks for sharing!

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  33. Oh wow, I can't wait until figs are in season here! Your cake is lovely and the flavors you've paired in it are delicious!

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  34. Interesting - I never thought of using ground pistachios - delicious! The figs look like a beautiful addition to the cake. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

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  35. What a wonderful treat. I would not have immediately thought of the combination but it works and that's what counts. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  36. What a gourmet cake!The flavor must be fabulous!

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  37. What a lovely treat for Mother's day! This cake sounds (and looks!!) amazing Maria. All those gorgeous flavours, sounds heavenly!

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  38. I love the idea of a polenta cake... And I'm all about anything involving fresh figs! :)

    Sues

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  39. What a beautiful presentation, and the cake sounds fabulous! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

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  40. Love figs! Love pistachios! This ones def a winner for me.

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  41. What an absolutely gorgeous cake. I love the fig and pistachio combination.

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  42. A cake after my own heart! Love the delicate crunch of polenta in a cake.

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  43. Dairy Free? There are eggs in it?

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