A light, crumbly, fruit-packed Italian alternative to Christmas cake – this is delicious eaten with sheep’s milk cheese or stilton.
This recipe is adapted from an old Italian cake book called Pâtisserie of Italy by Jeni Wright.
250g strong white flour
¼ tsp salt
1 sachet (7g) quick dried yeast
150g caster sugar
200g golden raisins
2 tbsp brandy, sherry or cherry brandy
200g semi-dried figs, chopped
2 eating apples, peeled, cored and chopped
150ml orange or lemon juice, freshly squeezed
250ml water, at blood temperature
2 tbsp olive oil
50g butter, melted
Beaten egg to glaze
Grease a 25cm round by 5cm deep cake tin, and dust with a little flour, shaking out any excess.
Sieve the white flour into an electric mixer bowl, stir in the polenta, salt and yeast. Add the sugar, raisins, brandy, figs, apples and orange juice and mix well using the dough hook. Then add the warm water, olive oil and melted butter and mix with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and elastic. Spoon into the cake tin, cover with oiled cling-film and leave in a warm place for 1-2 hours until the dough has risen to the top of the tin.
Heat the oven to 190 degrees C, Gas Mark 5. Brush a little beaten egg over the cake, and bake for 50mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely. Delicious served with a sharp cheese.