polenta and raisin biscuits

It's just over a week now until I leave for Europe but on Sunday I discovered my biscuit tin was empty. I was looking for something uncomplicated to bake that would tide me over until I fly out.

I'd bookmarked this biscuit recipe in Skye McAlpine's book, A Table in Venice and it looked pretty easy to put together. The cookies are made with polenta and I like to use fine polenta for baking. I'd run out but I couldn't find any at the fruit shop where I'd last bought it. Instead I found a packet of maize flour which looked pretty similar to the polenta flour I'd used in the past.

I decided to halve the recipe because there is no way I could eat 40 biscuits before I go. I needed to make a few adjustments to the recipe though maybe because of the maize flour. The mixture was really dry so I had to use more liquid than indicated before it would come together. I also added some lemon rind to give the flavour a lift and swapped the grappa for rum, because that's all I had on hand.

Here's the recipe for you with my adjustments but there is a link to the original recipe below. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. 

Polenta and Raisin Biscuits, adapted from A Table in Venice by Skye McAlpine  - makes 20

50g raisins
10ml rum
150g maize flour
100g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
75g caster sugar
½ tsp finely grated lemon rind
1 tbsp milk
50g salted butter, diced
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Cover the raisins with boiling water and soak for 10 minutes. Drain, rinse then combine the raisins and rum in a small bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave to steep while you make the dough.

Put the maize flour, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and lemon rind in a bowl and mix well. Put the milk and butter into a small saucepan and leave over a low heat for 1-2 minutes, until the butter has melted.

Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and then add the egg. Add the raisins and any remaining liquid to the mixture and bring everything together. You may need to use your hands to do this.

Take heaped teaspoonfuls of the dough and shape them into small ovals, roughly the size of a walnut. Arrange them on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment, leaving a little space around each one. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

The biscuits will keep in an airtight container for up to a week. I've only had one of the biscuits so far with a cup of tea. The biscuit wasn't  overly sweet and has a crunchy texture from the polenta. They're definitely moreish.

See you all again.

Bye for now,




  1. Will certainly miss your blog posts each Monday while you are holidaying. Would love to be going somewhere I haven't visited in Europe yet. So enjoyed Austria & Germany last summer. Please bring home lots of new recipes to share.

  2. Thanks Angela. I'm still without my passport so I'm finding it hard to believe I'll be getting on that plane next week. Looking forward to tasting pastries in Switzerland, Greece and Finland on my travels. Lots of travel photos will be coming your way until I return to the kitchen in mid June.

  3. How exciting. I haven't visited any of those countries however I am told that Austria is very similar to Switzerland. I absolutely loved Austria and will certainly be visiting there again.

    Going back to food/recipes, I recall you posted a recipe from the Cook and Baker Cookbook. I love Flour & Stone, having made a number of recipes from it....would you recommend buying The Cook and the Baker? I am holding off buying it until I hear what you have to say.
    I am trying to curb my cookbook spending and only buying ones that will get used.
    Trust your passport gets sorted speedily.

  4. Hi Angela,

    My passport has arrived at the Sydney passport office. Now the only issue is taking time off work to get there before they close at 4.00 p.m. It will probably be Friday before I can do that.

    I do like the Cook and Baker cookbook. The recipes are much more homey than Flour and Stone and don't require the same technical expertise. Both owners are from New Zealand so there are a number of classic Kiwi cakes in the book. I still haven't made a huge number of things from the book though. Off the top of my head I've made a savoury tart/raspberry jam using their recipe/lamington cupcakes/plum squares/salted caramel brownies/apricot amaretti and passionfruit curd meringue tarts. There are loads more items than that though. I think it's well worth it especially if you see it discounted anywhere. I think I saw one thrown out for council clean-up day not so long ago!

  5. Thank you for taking the time to provide such helpful and comprehensive information. I am so appreciative.
    I am hoping The Cook and Baker will be discounted somewhere. I actually bought two "Four & Stone" books recently for $5.00 each at a pop-up book shop. They have gone into my gift drawer and ready for the right time & person.
    Thank you again for allocating so much of your time to answering my questions. I think you are a food-blogger extraordinaire.
    Pleased the passport is ready for pick-up. Reassuring that you will be getting on that plane.
    Enjoy a simply wonderful holiday. Time seems to stretch further when on overseas holidays so pack as much into each day.


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