About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« A Farm Wife's Fresh Pear Tart | Main | Pisciotta--Olive Oil Cake »

Polenta Shortcake with Raisins, Dried Figs, and Pine Nuts


This was one of the desserts I was really looking forward to trying. I love cakes, and Marcella's description made me look forward to it even more. She said this cake is a local specialty of Venice. During Venice's trading days with the Near East, they obtained ingredients such as the nuts and dried fruits that are ingredients in this cake.

The cake is a mixture of course cornmeal, olive oil, butter,sugar, pine nuts, raisins, dried figs, egg, fennel seed, and flour. It's a very easy cake to mix up, then the cake bakes for about 45 minutes. It's a pretty dense, rich cake, nicely served with a spoonful of whipped cream. I loved the flavor of the fennel seeds with the dried fruits and nuts. The only thing that I didn't love was the texture. I like a mealy texture of cornbread cakes, but maybe my cornbread was too coarse for this. The brand I used looked pretty coarse, so I even used the medium grind. But it was still very granular in the cake. Oh well, it tasted good, so that's the main concern.

Comments (3)

This looks good, Cindy. But I would leave out the raisins. I'm one of those weird people who loves raisins, but not cooked into anything.
Marcella, if you were to leave out the raisins, would you substitute something else - like another dried fruit - or would you just leave out the raisins and be done with it?

Marcella Hazan:

When you don't like one of the key ingredients in a recipe, Deborah, make a different dish. Don't you like panettone, either?

Deborah responds:
Marcella, I like everything about panettone but the raisins. I like everything about bread pudding but the raisins. And I like everything about a palmful of raisins. I'm weird.

Toby Klebenov:

I have made the polenta cake a number of times and I like it very much. However when I was in Venice this past October, i saw a cake in the window of a bakery in Cannareggio, near Piazza San Felice, on Strada Nova. thinking about Hazan's Torta d Polenta I went in and bought a slice. It had a very slightly greenish tan color because of the pistachios which were used. I think it did NOT have fennel, but possibly cardamon. It was lighter than the Torta di Polenta. Any recipe suggestions? I have done a lot of searching for this cake but I have not gotten a recipe which seems to be what I am looking for. As soon as anyone hears about the pistachios, they want to send a recipe for "pistacchione", which is not what I am looking for.This was a cake, not a cookie.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 21, 2011 1:58 AM.

The previous post in this blog was A Farm Wife's Fresh Pear Tart.

The next post in this blog is Pisciotta--Olive Oil Cake.

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