Got Herbs: Polenta Pound Cake with Blueberries and Thyme

PUBLISHED ON: 05.18.2013

Summer for most of us is almost here.  To get in the spirit of summer  I start thinking about desserts with fruit,  meat and veggies on the grill, and summer salads loaded with tomatoes and cucumbers.

I am working to get in the summer spirit.  My garden is rocking.  Fingers crossed that I can get a decent harvest of tomatoes this season.  The blueberry and blackberry farms are scheduled to open soon and if I can get my hands on good peaches this year, then my summer of food will be deemed successful.

Part of getting into the summer groove is learning that infusing herbs into desserts produces desserts that are savory and not to sweet.  This pound cake is a good example that using fresh thyme in both the  blueberries and the cake brings a simple pound cake to a new level.  The addition of polenta (cornmeal) really complements the texture of the pound cake by providing an ever so subtle chewy texture.

Go ahead and get your summer cooking groove on-


Polenta Pound Cake with Blueberries and Thyme
Serves 10
Recipe from Fine Cooking
For the Blueberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 pint blueberries, picked over
1-1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
Pinch kosher salt
For the Cake
8-oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened; more for the pan
6-2/3 oz. (1-2/3 cups) cake flour; more for the pan
1/3 cup polenta (cornmeal)
2 Tbs. finely chopped thyme
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Make the Blueberries
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, thyme, and 2 Tbs. water.  Cook over low heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.  Add the blueberries, lemon zest and salt.  Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the syrup thickens slightly and the berries are warm but most are still whole, 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat
Note: The blueberries will keep, covered and refrigerated, for 1 day; the thyme flavor will become more intense.  Reheat gently before serving.
Make the Cake
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Butter and flour 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, polenta, thyme, and salt.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a large bowl using an electric hand mixer, beat the softened butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add the lemon juice and vanilla and mix briefly to combine.  Reduce the speed to low and add the flour gradually until just combined.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top, then tap the pan on the counter to pop any large air bubbles.  Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours.  ( If the top starts to get too dark, lay a piece of foil loosely over the cake) Cool in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate or cutting board.  Slice and serve warm or at room temperature, topped with blueberries.

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