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Lemon almond polenta torta with ricotta cream


Olive oil (for the pan)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/4 cups blanched almonds

1 to 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 large lemon, washed well

1/2 cup fruity olive oil

1/2 cup milk

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon almond extract Confectioners' sugar

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Rub the inside of a 9-inch round cake pan with oil, line it with parchment paper cut to fit, and oil the paper.

2. In a bowl mix together the salt, cornmeal, and baking powder.

3. In a food processor, grind the almonds with 1 cup of the granulated sugar to make a slightly coarse mixture.

4. Cut the lemon into quarters and remove any seeds. Add the lemon pieces to the ground almond mixture. Pulse until the mixture forms a coarse puree. Taste for sweetness and add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, if necessary.

5. Add the oil, milk, eggs, and almond extract. Process for 1 to 2 minutes or until just combined.

6. Add the cornmeal mixture and pulse just briefly to combine.

7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until golden brown and slightly moist in the center.

8. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool. Run a knife around the cake, invert it onto a cake plate, and dust with confectioners' sugar.


1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

1/2 cup granulated sugar, or to taste

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. In a food processor, combine the ricotta, sugar, and vanilla. Work in on-off motions until the mixture is smooth.

2. Spoon the ricotta beside wedges of the cake and serve.

Adapted from "The Flavors of Olive Oil"

lemon almond polenta cake. Used in place of butter, olive oil brings out the flavors of a lemon almond polenta cake. (Globe Staff Photo / Suzanne Kreiter)
Related stories:
 Olive oil takes the cake (Today's Globe)
 A couple of oil magnates (Today's Globe)

Butter-to-olive-oil conversion chart

Cookbook author Peggy Knickerbocker says that you can't substitute olive oil for butter spoon for spoon, so she has worked out the proportions.
  • For 1 teaspoon butter, substitute 3/4 teaspoon olive oil.
  • For 1 tablespoon butter, substitute 2 1/4 teaspoons olive oil.
  • For 1/4 cup butter, substitute 3 tablespoons olive oil.
  • For 1/3 cup butter, substitute 1/4 cup olive oil.
  • For 1/2 cup butter, substitute 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  • For 2/3 cup butter, substitute 1/2 cup olive oil.
  • For 3/4 cup butter, substitute 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  • For 1 cup butter, substitute 3/4 cup olive oil.

    Source: "Olive Oil: From Tree to Table"
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