DOLCE DI POLENTA – Rustic Polenta Cake

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This rustic hearth cake is a variation of a cake called Zaletti, a specialty of Treviso. It is most tasty served warm with a dollop or two of fresh whipped cream. Hopefully there will be some leftover to warm in the microwave for breakfast.

  • 1 C. coarse corn meal
  • 2 C. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 lb. ricotta, drained overnight in the refrigerator, in a cheesecloth lined strainer over a bowl
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1/2 C. raisins, plumped in rum, drained
  • grated rind of 1 lemon
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 C. slivered almonds, toasted in butter
  • 1/4 C. chocolate bits
  • powdered sugar


Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Bring the milk to a boil and add the corn meal in a steady thin stream. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon. When all the corn meal has been absorbed, add the salt and the butter. Continue to stir for about 15 more min., until it pulls away from the pan. Remove from the heat.

Combine the ricotta and the sugar in a large bowl and mix very well with a wooden spoon. Add the polenta to the ricotta mixture, stir until smooth. Add the drained raisins, lemon rind and cinnamon. Mix well. Add the eggs individually, mixing thoroughly. When cool, add the almonds and chocolate.

Butter a loaf pan. Transfer the batter to the pan, level off and bake for about 50-60 min. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 30 min. Unmold and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of rum flavored sweetened whipped cream.

Optional additions to the batter:

  1. pignoli nuts instead of almonds
  2. 1/2 C. dried figs cut into 1/4 in. pieces
  3. 1 T. fennel seeds
  4. chopped, candied orange rind, lemon rind or citron