Tomorrow is Father’s Day in Finland, and I am preparing a sweet treat inspired by chef Alain Ducasse, a godfather of French gastronomy. While polenta sticks are most commonly associated with savory fries, our beloved chef turn them into a dessert, how genious is that! My take on sweet polenta fingers are crisp and crunchy sticks, rich of seasonal dry fruits and almonds, flavored with vanilla bean and dipped in a creamy chocolate sauce. Yummyyy!
When winter comes, I love to snack on dry figs, raisins and almonds. No wonder this combo of dry fruits and nut ended up in my polenta fingers. You can use your own favorite or whatever you have in your kitchen pantries. Just remember to add at least one third of nuts, for a crunchy texture.
The great thing is that polenta fingers are naturally gluten free, as polenta is actually cornmeal. I use vegetal milk in place of dairy milk, however I like to fry the polenta sticks in ghee for the nice buttery flavor. You can of course use real butter or alternatively unflavored oil, like grapeseed oil, for a fully dairy free recipe (although personally I consider ghee as ‘dairy free’, as it doesn’t contain any lactose or milk protein).
Time to dip in!
- For the dry fruits:
- 6 dry figs
- 2 tbsp raisins
- 2 tbsp (blanched) almonds
- For the polenta:
- 140 g polenta
- 500 ml rice milk (or almond milk)
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 tbsp (organic local) honey
- 20 g ghee + extra for frying
- For the chocolate dip:
- 120 g chopped dark chocolate 70% (or milder if you prefer)
- 120 ml rice milk (or almond milk)
- Prepare the dry fruits: chop the almond, figs and raisins (note: too big chunks will make your polenta fingers more fragile once cut). Set aside.
- Prepare the polenta: Pour le rice milk in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out and mix them in the rice milk. Bring to boil then pour in the polenta, whisking continuously. Turn to low heat, cover and let it cook for about 15 minutes, whisking every now and then.
- Mix in the ghee until melted, then add the honey andchopped dry fruits. Stir until well combined.
- Spread the mixture in a baking pan, lined with parchment paper (mine is a square 23x23cm pan): the polenta should be about 1,5 cm thick. Smoothen the surface with a spatula, cover with an other parchment paper and place in refrigerator for about 1h.
- Prepare the chocolate sauce: warm up the rice milk in a sauce pan. When it boils, pour it on the chopped chocolate and mix until well combined. Pour in four verrine glasses.
- Prepare the polenta fingers: cut the polenta in sticks, about 8x1 cm. (ensure your knife is continuously clean to make clear cuts).
- Warm up the ghee (or oil) in a saucepan and fry the polenta on all sides until crisp and golden.
- Serve warm together with the chocolate dip.