Polenta Pound Cake with Caramelized Citrus Salad
¾ c. butter, room temp
½ c. almond paste, room temp (optional)
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/2 c. cake flour
¾ c. cornmeal
1 t. baking powder
1 c. whipping cream
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a loaf pan. Whip cream and refrigerate. Beat butter, almond paste, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Beat in eggs until well blended. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal and baking powder and stir into the egg and butter mixture. Fold the beaten cream into the cake batter until thoroughly mixed in. Pour into the loaf pan until ¾ full. Bake 1 hour until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean and the cake is golden and firm to the touch. Cool on a rack.
Caramelized Citrus Salad
1 each: red grapefruit, orange and blood orange, peeled, seeded, pith removed and cut into segments
¾ c. sugar
¼ c. water
½ t. lemon juice
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Place the citrus segments in a sieve over a bowl to drain. Reserve juices. Combine sugar, water and lemon juice in a non-reactive pan and cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring and increase heat to high; cook until mixture is a golden brown, washing any crystals off the side of the pan with a damp pastry brush.
Remove from heat and slowly whisk in ¼ cup of reserved juice. Scrape the seeds and pulp from the vanilla bean and add to the mixture. While the caramel is still warm, add the fruit segments. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, until chilled.
To serve: place a slice of cake on each plate, dust with confectioners’ sugar and spoon caramelized citrus alongside. A small scoop of vanilla ice cream might be nice too. Or some whipped cream. Mmmm. Serves 8.