Pizza di Polenta

Polenta Country Cake

This ancient recipe from the countryside surrounding Rome calls for real Roman ricotta cheese, diluted with water. I have used a mixture of half cream cheese and half cottage cheese very successfully when ricotta has been unavailable. This is a delicious and unusual cake, best when served oven-warm.


  • 30 g (1 oz) sultanas or currants
  • 225 g (8 oz) Roman ricotta cheese (see above)
  • 225 g (8 oz) granulated sugar
  • 225 g (8 oz) polenta (yellow cornmeal)
  • a large pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 15 g (1 oz) butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts


Soak the sultanas or currants in water for 15 minutes; drain and dry. Mix the ricotta cheese, with 500 ml (18 fl oz) cold water, whisking with a balloon whisk or fork.

Whisk the sugar into this mixture, then slowly tip in the polenta, stirring constantly. Stir in the cinnamon and the sultanas. Grease a 25 cm (10 inch) loose-bottomed cake tin with butter and pour in the cake mixture. Dot with a few scraps of butter and scatter the pine nuts over the top. Bake in a slow oven (150°C, 300°F, gas mark 2) for 1¾ hours. Serve while still warm.