[pinit][pinit] Quick-cooking polenta is in regular rotation in our house. I use a brand called de la Estancia, and it's not instant polenta. It's just quick-cooking because of, well, I don't know why I'm not the polenta people. All I know is that it's ready in 1 minute after you bring the milk or water or stock to a boil. Smooth and creamy and satisfying. Top it with some sort of protein, and you've got dinner. But a new-ish family favorite is this Polenta French Toast, and it kinda puts all other polenta meals to shame. Crispy on the outside, smooth and custard-like on the inside. Mmmmm…..
Since cooked polenta firms up as it cools, you can shape it however you like. This recipe calls for pouring it into a quarter sheet pan (9x13x1-inch), and allowing it to chill. Then, turn it out, slice it into squares and then triangles.
The triangles then get dipped in an egg wash, and dredged in crushed corn flake cereal (I use Erewhon brand, since it's not sweet). Give them a generous drizzle of honey before you bake them.
If you can't find quick-cooking polenta, you can use traditional polenta and cook it in milk according to the package directions. It's not harder, it just takes longer. Or you could even use that ready-made polenta from the refrigerated section of your grocery store, as most of those are gluten-free. But my completely spoiled children won't go for that. And this polenta french toast even keeps quite well, so you can make it one day and serve it the next (and the one after that). Just warm it on a sheet of foil in the toaster oven before serving. And don't forget that extra drizzle of honey. That's the one that keeps 'em coming back for more.
Polenta French Toast
1 1/2 cups (225 g) quick-cooking gluten-free polenta (I use de la Estancia brand)
4 1/2 cups (36 fluid ounces) milk (any kind)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water and 1 tablespoon milk)
Crushed gluten-free corn flake cereal, for dredging
Honey, for drizzling
Line a half-sheet (9-inchs x 13-inches x 1 inch) pan with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
In a large, heavy-bottom pot, bring the milk, cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low. Add the polenta slowly, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk as the polenta cooks. Quick-cooking polenta generally takes about 1 minute to thicken. It is ready when the whisk leaves a very visible trail through the polenta.
Quickly pour the cooked polenta into the prepared half-sheet pan, and smooth into an even layer with a wet spatula. Allow the polenta to cool to room temperature before covering with plastic wrap and placing in the refrigerator to chill until firm (about 30 minutes, or up to overnight).
Once the polenta has chilled, line another rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside. Preheat your oven to 325°F. Remove the chilled polenta from the refrigerator, and invert it onto a cutting board. Remove the parchment paper, and slice the polenta into 4 inch squares. Slice each square into 2 triangles. Dip each piece of polenta in the egg wash on both sides, then dredge through the crushed cereal, covering the polenta on both top and bottom, and the sides, with cereal. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle generously with honey.
Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until crisp on the outside and lightly golden brown all over. Serve warm, with more honey to taste.