1- Preheat oven to 150C. Combine polenta and 80ml boiling water in a heatproof bowl, stir well, set aside. Beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add honey, flour, polenta and ground almonds and stir to combine. Spoon into a buttered and floured 11cm x 21cm loaf pan, smoothing top. Bake in centre of oven until a skewer inserted into centre withdraws clean (1 hour 20 minutes). Cover cake with foil during baking if it becomes too dark. Cool in tin for 15 minutes, then carefully invert onto a plate.
2- For vin santo mascarpone, combine all ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate.
3- Meanwhile, for burnt figs, place figs cut-side up on an oven tray, scatter evenly with sugar and caramelise using a blow torch (1-2 minutes; see note).
4- Serve cake topped with figs, drizzled with extra honey, and mascarpone to the side (OPTIONAL)
110 gm coarse polenta
300 gm unsalted butter, softened
150 gm sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
100 gm honey, plus extra, warmed, to serve
50 gm (1/3 cup) self-raising flour
200 gm blanched almonds, finely ground
8 figs, halved
For dusting: raw caster sugar
Vin santo mascarpone: (OPTIONAL)
40 ml vin santo (or to taste)
250 gm mascarpone
1 tbsp pure icing sugar, sifted
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