Monday, January 21, 2013

Lime, Polenta and Almond Meal Muffins

Baker and taste-tester "They are really good."
Our first stop each week at the Ferry Building farmers market is always Della Fattoria. There K selects her treat of the week, whether it be our favorite mini-rhubarb bundt cake, a butterhorn or rarely a fruit galette. I often opt for a galette myself, especially in the summer, but also am a big fan of their polenta cake. This cake, which is always available in an individual size but sometimes in much larger versions, is nutty and moist and covered with a wonderful crumb topping. I've thought of trying to make a version of it for years. This recipe is not that cake. 
Conveniently, K also feels that a trip to the market is not complete without a sample of toffee from Alfieri Farms. If you've been to the market, you have probably sampled it yourself, though likely not every week. I often buy their roasted pistachios while I wait, but this time opted for a bag of almond meal. With that on-hand, it was time to experiment.

Yes, the limes are more yellow than green. Plus, a closer look at the almond meal.
Google sent me to a recipe from Nigella Lawson for a Lemon Polenta Cake. Using that as our guide, we opted for lime over lemon, as we had some on-hand.  Pre-Christmas I purchased a bag of limes from Mariquita and it has served us well--lime jelly, lime curd and now muffins. We used the lime juice, in addition to the zest Nigella called for. We also opted for muffins rather than a full cake and skipped the suggested glaze. For a fancier, in K's words "tea party" presentation, I might top them with lime curd.

Kitchen scale and karaoke on the i-pad.
Often the messiest step.

Lime, Polenta and Almond Meal Muffins

  • 7 oz unsalted butter
  • 7 oz caster sugar
  • 7 oz Almond Meal
  • 4 oz Polenta
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder (If it matters to you, look for a gluten free brand)
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 2 medium limes-juice and zest
Preheat the oven to 350.
Place 16 wrappers in your muffin tins.
Beat the butter and sugar until well combined, either by hand or using a freestanding mixer.
Mix together the almond meal, polenta and baking powder.  Add 1/3 of that mixture to the butter and sugar, followed by 1 egg, then alternate dry ingredients and eggs, beating all the while.
Add the lime juice and zest and continue to beat until combined. Spoon the mixture into your prepared muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick or knife tester comes out clean. 

Note: Depending upon the baking powder used, these muffins may be gluten free. The baking powder we used is. For more info on baking powder and gluten, see here

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