Martha Collison's pistachio & rose polenta cake

Polenta is naturally gluten free and creates a dense, sticky crumb – perfect for desserts

  • Vegetarian
  • Gluten Free


100g pistachios
100g ground almonds
100g polenta
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
225g butter, softened
225g caster sugar
3 large Waitrose British Blacktail Eggs

50g caster sugar
50g pistachios

75g icing sugar
1 tsp rose water
Cooks’ Ingredients Pretty Rose Petals, to decorate


1. Preheat the oven to 170°C, gas mark 3, grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm loose-bottomed tin with baking parchment.

2. To make the cake, place the pistachios into a food processor and pulse for around 30 seconds until the nuts are the same texture as the ground almonds. Tip into a small bowl and add the ground almonds, polenta and baking powder.

3. Cream together the butter and sugar using an electric hand whisk until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Stir in the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Scrape the batter into the prepared tin and level the surface. Bake for 45-50 minutes until risen and firm. Test the cake using a skewer – it should come out clean when inserted into the centre. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack. The cake may sink slightly in the centre, but this is normal for polenta cakes.

4. While the cake is baking, make the crystallised pistachios. Place the sugar and 50ml of cold water into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. When the sugar syrup reaches 135°C on a sugar thermometer and it just starts to colour around the edges, remove from the heat and tip in the pistachios. Beat rapidly with a balloon whisk so the syrup crystallises around the pistachios, then tip onto a sheet of baking parchment to cool completely. When cool enough to handle, pull apart to separate the nuts.

5. To make the icing, combine the icing sugar and rose water in a small bowl with just enough water to make a thick icing. Drizzle all over the cooled cake, then roughly chop the crystallised pistachios and sprinkle over the top with a few rose petals before serving.

Martha Collison's pistachio & rose polenta cake
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes to 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 45 minutes to 50 minutes
  • Total time: 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes

Serves: 10

Nutritional Info

Typical values per serving:

Energy 2,203kJ
Fat 34.4g
Saturated Fat 13.8g
Carbohydrate 46.8g
Sugars 38.1g
Protein 7.9g
Salt 0.6g
Fibre 2.5g

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5 stars

Average user rating Based on 16 ratings

This recipe was first published in Thu Apr 13 10:12:00 BST 2017.