This nutty polenta cake is lovely and crumbly. The various nuts in this cake add taste and texture. While autumn is the perfect time of year to use hazelnuts and walnuts, you don’t have to limit yourself to just those. You can use any nuts you like. Just go with what you like best.
For anyone who doesn’t know what polenta is, we’ll start with a food lesson. Polenta is originally poor man’s food from northern Italy. Essentially it’s a mush made from cornflower. You can eat this “as is” but you can also eat it baked or fried.
Polenta is also a very old dish. At was already a staple back in Roman times. Back then, they made polenta from meal made from wheat, rye, chestnut or chickpeas. It was only in the 16th century, after the discovery of the Americas, that corn (maize) became the ingredient of choice.
Making polenta from cornflour is very labour-intensive. It takes up to an hour of careful cooking and constant stirring! It really is no wonder that these days you can buy instant polenta. This is pre-cooked cornmeal and enables you to prepare polenta in just a few minutes. It has a reputation for being not being quite as good as polenta made from normal cornmeal. But honestly, who wants to stir until their arms fall off?
For this polenta cake, you need this kind of instant polenta. It comes in different versions, ranging from coarse to fine. It’s best to use the finest version you can find. Otherwise your cake may turn out more crunchy than you intended.
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