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Author Notes: Amor polenta (also known as dolce varese) is a traditional recipe from northern Italy, made with polenta, almond meal and flour. It is usually made in a specially designed, ridged pan, but you can use a regular loaf tin as well. I love this recipe so much I have also used it in a round cake tin or even as muffins. It is easily made gluten-free by substituting the flour for half the weight of potato starch, and you can use hazelnuts instead of the almonds for a deeper, nutty flavour.
This recipe is inspired by the first amor polenta recipe I ever tried, which I found in Gourmet Traveler a number of years ago by Italian-Australian chef Stefano de Pieri. He serves his cake with poached pears, which is not traditional but certainly a nice idea. More traditional would be to have it on its own, with espresso for breakfast or a glass of wine for a snack, or dressed up with some fresh fruit and whipped cream. —Emiko
- 3/4 cup (100 grams) fine cornmeal (polenta)
- 2/3 cup (80 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2/3 cup (60 grams) almond meal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/2 cup (125 grams) softened butter, plus more for greasing
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
- 1 splash of rum or Strega, optional
- powdered sugar, for serving
- Combine the flour, polenta, almond meal, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the yolks and eggs one at a time, along with the vanilla and rum, if using, beating well until pale and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients, folding through carefully,
- Grease the cake tin well with butter, then dust entirely with flour, tipping the tin upside down to remove any excess. Pour the batter in and smooth the top over.
- Bake at 350F (180C) for about 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and springy. Remove from the oven and immediately place top-down on a cake rack. Leave until cool enough to touch the pan before removing carefully. Serve dusting with powdered sugar.
- This recipe is a Community Pick!