The Washington Times - July 10, 2008, 11:36PM

Submitted by Pastry Chef, Caitlin Kelly, Sienna Ristorante

Pastry Chef, Caitlin Kelly, of Sienna Ristorante and Trattoria Lucca enjoys fusing traditional Italian recipes with local Charleston ingredients, like fresh strawberries.

“I wanted to take a traditional American dish and infuse elements of Italian cuisine through out the dish.  I also love working with polenta and the polenta shortcake is a take on polenta you don’t see often.


Italian “Strawberry Shortcake” by Pastry Chef Caitlin Kelly (Photo courtesy of Sienna Ristorante)

A traditional strawberry shortcake dish generally consists of the cake, some type of cream on top and strawberries as a garnish and topping.  To put an Italian twist on the cream, I created a rice pudding using Arborio Rice, which is an Italian short grain rice often used for risotto.  Similarly, I used polenta, a traditional Italian ingredient, for the cake.  Using a bit of raw polenta will give the cake a bit of a crunch which provides great contrast to the buttery richness of the cake.
I use local South Carolina strawberries because I find it is always best to support local farmers.  Plus, local produce is always fresher and more flavorful.  This is a great summer dish.”

Italian “Strawberry Shortcake”
Warm Polenta Cake with Arborio Rice Pudding and Local Strawberries
Polenta Cake:
10 oz.    Sugar    
  7 oz.    Egg Whites      
  3 oz.    AP Flour                     
  3 oz.    Fine Polenta       
10 oz.    Butter                  
Preheat oven to 350
Cook butter over medium heat until it starts to brown.
In a large mixing bowl combine sugar and egg whites with a whisk.
Add flour and polenta to the egg/sugar mix
Slowly add the hot butter into the rest of the batter
Bake in individual greased pans (cupcake pans work well) until golden brown about 15 minutes
Arborio Rice Pudding:
2 cups    Whole Milk                
1 cup     Cream                         
3 oz       Sugar                          
3 oz       Arborio Rice              
1 oz.      Egg Yolks                  
1/2        Vanilla Bean               
In a small mixing bowl combine 1/2 cup cream and egg yolks.  Set aside for later.
In a medium pot combine milk, the remaining cream, sugar, vanilla bean and rice.
Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and reduce the heat to a simmer.


Continue to cook the rice until most of the liquid has cooked out and it is very tender, stirring constantly.

*You almost want to over cook the rice.*

Remove the rice from the heat and temper in the cream/yolk mix.
Return to low heat and cook until it has thickened slightly.
Cool in refrigerator with a piece of plastic wrap directly on the rice to prevent a skin from forming.
To Serve:
Dice up a pint of local strawberries and add 2 Tablespoons of powdered sugar
Serve the cake warm overtop of the cool rice pudding and garnish with strawberries

Recipe Courtesy of:

Sienna Ristorante
901 Island Park Drive
Daniel Island, SC 29492
(843) 881-8820


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