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Torta di Polenta: Grappa Infused Italian Polenta Shortcake

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  • Author: Kathy Bechtel
  • Yield: 8 1x


Polenta Torta – a polenta based shortcake, flavored with dried figs, raisins, pine nut and grappa


Units Scale
  • 1/3 cup 50 g seedless raisins
  • 1 cup dried figs (165 g, cut into 1/4 inch pieces)
  • 1/4 cup 60 ml grappa
  • 1 cup 170 g coarse cornmeal
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons 50 ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for smearing the pan
  • 1/2 cup 95 g granulated sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 1/3 cup 42 g pignoli (pine nuts), toasted
  • 1 egg (slightly beaten)
  • 1 cup 100 g all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F
  2. Place the raisins and figs in a small bowl, and cover with the grappa. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Bring 2 cups (0.5 l) water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium, and then whisk in the cornmeal, adding it in a thin, steady stream. Season with salt and add half of the olive oil.  Continue to stir as the cornmeal thickens and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 15 minutes or so. Remove from the heat.
  4. Add the sugar, pine nuts, raisins, figs, remaining olive oil, the egg, and mix thoroughly to combine all of the ingredients. Add the flour and mix well to form a smooth cake batter.
  5. If not using a non-stick pan, smear the cake pan with olive oil, sprinkle lightly with flour, turning it upside down and tapping it to remove the excess. Place the batter in the pan, leveling the top with a spoon. Sprinkle with sugar, place the pan in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes.
  6. While the cake is still warm, loosen its sides from the pan with a knife, and remove from the pan. Serve with whipped cream and roasted fruit, or a fig compote.
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