Polenta & raisin-soaked grappa biscuits

As autumn is heading our way, my kitchen habits and recipes tend to change and adapt. A change in season brings out my slow cooker, one pot dishes, slow cooked dishes, baked dishes, and many carbs.  Crumbles, custard, and anything that resembles a taste of comfort.

So, today’s recipe is a grain, a gluten free grain in fact, that is so incredibly versatile with a much loved and disliked past and present. Polenta: must be one of my favourite grains as they adore flavour, they crave seasoning and flavour. Polenta is bland if it’s not cooked well. I like to use it in both savoury and sweet dishes as the different textures bode so well with other ingredients.

From softly whipped Parmigiano Reggiano and milk polenta to truffle infused soft polenta, to polenta that has been topped with pan-fried seasonal mushrooms and thyme. Then you have the firm variety of polenta that is cooked, spooned into a tray, then chilled, sliced, pan-fried and topped with roasted vegetables, cheese, fish or meat. I also use polenta combined with breadcrumbs, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, lemon zest and seasoning to coat chicken or pork, prior to frying.

Then we take polenta on a sweet journey. From a wonderful light polenta cake to my most favourite biscuits in the world. These are my raisin-soaked grappa and polenta biscuits. The texture is crumbly and absolutely moreish to the point that I would suggest you to double up the recipe!


Polenta and raisin-soaked grappa biscuits

Texture, colour, and aroma. These biscuits have all three in abundance and they keep so well too. A firm favourite of mine. If you prefer no alcohol just steep the raisins in either fruit juice or boiled water.


Pre-heat oven: 170C (fan-assisted)

Chilling time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Bake: 15 minutes


50g raisins

50ml grappa (or any alcohol you would prefer)

125g polenta

125g 00 flour or plain flour

½ tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

80g butter, small cubes

100g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 lemon zest


  1. Soak the raisins in the grappa with 4 tbsp hot water and cover. Leave for 30 minutes to plump up.
  2. In a large bowl combine the polenta, flour, baking powder and salt. Stir.
  3. In another bowl, work the cubed butter with the sugar using your fingers tips, then mix in the whole egg and yolk.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture along with the vanilla and lemon zest.
  5. Drain and add the raisins to the mixture.
  6. Knead on a lightly floured board to incorporate.
  7. Wrap and rest for an hour in the fridge.
  8. Make a roll of dough, 3-5cm in diameter and cut them on the diagonal every 7cm and shape into ovals.
  9. Place on a lined baking sheet and chill for 15 minutes before baking for 15 minutes.

These keep for 3 weeks wrapped well in an airtight container. Also, I always use salted butter, so I omit the pinch of salt.