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BeauMac’s Polenta-Pistachio Cake

Polenta-Pistachio Cake with Zinfandel Syrup

On Monday, Chef Beau MacMillan from Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain was the guest instructor at Les Gourmettes. The class and the menu were outstanding. This dessert was the crowning glory. Beau made a dense, not too sweet, polenta-pistachio cake, topped with olive oil-cured strawberries and drizzled with a winning zinfandel-dried cherry syrup. Out of this world!

Since he brought pre-made individual cakes, I was the happy recipient of the cake batter he demonstrated for the class. My boys will be so happy with their dessert this coming weekend!

Polenta-Pistachio Cake with Olive Oil Cured Strawberries and Zinfandel-Cherry Syrup

Polenta-Pistachio Cake with Olive Oil Cured Strawberries and Zinfandel-Cherry Syrup

3  1/2 tablespoons polenta
7 ounces pistachio nutmeats, ground
3  1/2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
Zest of 1 large lemon
Juice of 1 orange
Olive Oil Cured Strawberries
3 cups hulled and quartered strawberries
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons sugar
Zinfandel-Cherry Syrup
1 bottle red Zinfandel wine
2 cups sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
3 whole star anise
1  1/2 cups dried cherries

Vanilla Bean or Pistachio Ice Cream

Cake: Butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Line with parchment paper, and butter the paper. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Whisk together the polenta, ground pistachios, flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil and melted butter. Set aside both.

In the bowl of a standing mixer beat the eggs and sugar until thick and pale. Add the olive oil-butter mixture. Stir in the lemon zest and orange juice. Add the dry ingredients, 1 cup at a time, until just combined.

Polenta-Pistachio Cake batter

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until the cake pulls away from the sides and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.

Polenta-Pistachio Cake baked

Cool pan on a rack, then turn out cake when completely cool.

Olive Oil Cured Strawberries: Place the strawberries in a bowl, toss with the olive oil and sugar and set aside so the berries can release their juices, while you make the syrup.

Zinfandel-Cherry Syrup: In a medium saucepan combine the Zinfandel, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and star anise. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 12 to 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cinnamon and star anise. Discard the spices. Add the dried cherries and continue to simmer until the cherries are plump and the liquid is a thick syrup, about 10 to 15 more minutes. Keep warm.

When ready to serve, slice the cake into eight wedges. Place each slice on a serving plate and spoon strawberries over top and sides. Drizzle each cake with about 3 tablespoons of warm syrup, taking care to include several of the cherries. Top each serving with a scoop of ice cream.  Serve immediately.

Serves 8


… and Happy May Day!

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1 comment

1 Marissa { 05.01.13 at 9:29 AM }

This looks so incredible. I am jealous of the boys.

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