Pink Grapefruit, Pistachio and Polenta Cake


This is from my new cookbook "Wild Figs and Fennel" by Letitia Clark ... a treasure trove! More on the book a bit later in the week.

I am not a baker ... but this cake looked so beautiful and I had just added the special addition pink plate from Mud ... I had to give it a go.


butter for greasing

120g ( 4oz /generous 3/4 cup) shelled unsalted pistachios, plus an extra handful, roughly chopped , to decorate.

80g ( 3 oz /1 3/4 cups polenta

finely grated zest of 1 large pink grapefruit ( use juice below )

a pinch of salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

4 eggs

180 g ( 6 1/2 oz generous 3/4 cup sugar

180 ml ( 6 fluid oz / 3/4 cup olive oil

rosebuds/ petals/ to decorate ( optional )

For the Syrup

2 tablespoons honey ( a light floral one to let the flavour of the grapefruit shine )

juice of 1 large pink grapefruit

Method and words from Letitia ...

A surprising cake this, a version of which I first tried in Oxfordshire at a lovely little tumble-down kitchen garden cafe called Worton. It was impossibly moist, a sort of appealing pale pond-green, with lovely crunchy texture due to the polenta ( cornmeal ) and a surprising almost spiciness from the olive oil and grapefruit. I can never resist alliterative recipes.

Serve with some yoghurt for a refreshingly zingy January breakfast, or with Earl Grey for a fragrant, citrus tea.

It is also - miraculously - gluten and dairy free. At the cafe where I tried it they perfumed the syrup with a sprig of rosemary, which you could do if you like, but I keep it without. Another nice addition is a little ground cardamom, thought not strictly Italian.

Blitz the pistachios in a food processor until they form a fine, sandy rubble. Tip into a mixing bowl, then mix in the polenta, grapefruit zest, salt and baking powder.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar and olive oil. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet and pour into your prepared cake tin.

Bake for 40-50 minutes until just set and golden on top.

Remove from the oven and set aside as you make the syrup. Melt the honey over a low heat until lliquid ad just bubbling, then add the fresh grapefruit juice. Allow to simmer for a minute and then pour over the still-warm cake, little by little, waiting for it to be absorbed.

Decorate with roughly chopped pistachios and rosebuds or petals, if you wish. Serve warm or cold. This cake keeps well for several days.

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