Breakfast Polenta Cakes with Blackberry Syrup

I’m taking part in the Wholesome Wholegrain Cooking (WWC) that was started by Sanjeeta at Lite Bite’s. Every month a fellow blogger picks a wholegrain ingredient and sets it to a specific meal. As I am passionate about wholegrains I thought this was a perfect opportunity to take part in something I stand behind. For the most part the recipes have to be healthy and vegetarian. Nothing fried!

This month Anu from Anu’s Healthy Kitchen is hosting WWC, cornmeal for breakfast. I love challenges that force me to think outside the box. I’ve tried to be consistent with submitting recipes, but I have not been terribly successful. Last month it was oats in baking. My Wild Plum Crisp recipe was about 4 days late. Oops. Life is about trial and error. If at first you don’t succeed, examine the situation, correct and try again. So, in order to be more consistent, I’ve decided to post my WWC recipe right at the beginning of the month so I don’t forget.

I set my alarm clock, I peeled my face off the sheets, put on a ball cap and some shoes and went out picking berries. Luckily for me black berry bushes can be found absolutely everywhere around here. They can be found in all our parks, parking lots, growing next to the Walmart and anywhere else this invasive species can get in a root. Needless to say I did not have to go far.

Sadly most of these berries won’t get picked. Most will over ripen and fall to the ground. They are simply EVERYWHERE. It doesn’t help that the thorns on these bushes are the equivalent of a rose bush and a raspberry bush combined and multiplied by 2 (that’s some sweet math). Be prepared to donate a set of clothes since it is most likely that it will get ripped and stained. It only takes one morning to really appreciate the price I pay for these beauties in the store.

Polenta is so easy to make, requires very little for ingredients and lasts in the fridge for several days. I recommend making this the night before (Sunday night let’s say) and then enjoying it over the course of the week with your favorite toppings. I don’t know if I’ve gone and done something blasphemous by turning this classic Italian dish into something reminiscent of French toast, but, Meh, I’m French, what can I say?

Now a word on polenta. Some recipes show a cooking time of 10 minutes, some 40. Who’s right? When in doubt go with the Italians (35-45 minutes). The mixture should be very thick and just starting to pull away from the sides. I find that 30 minutes works pretty well. The consistency should be that of mashed potatoes.  The cream is not mandatory and can definitely be substituted out for water. Polenta is also gluten free. When made the traditional savory way, it pairs beautifully with stewed vegetables that are saucy and bold in flavor. In this case we’ll be sopping up sweet and tangy blackberry syrup.

Sweet Polenta Cakes

  • 1/2 cup half and half, whole milk or cream
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup cornmeal (the coarser the better)
  • 1/3 cup of palm sugar (also known as coconut sugar) or 1/4 cup honey or alternate unprocessed sweetener
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil (or butter)

In a medium sized pot, bring the cream and water to a boil. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Pour in the cornmeal in a steady stream whisking continuously for the first 3-4 minutes to prevent any lumps from forming. Add the vanilla and the coconut oil. Stir the cornmeal mixture every few minutes to prevent the bottom from scorching and sticking, scrapping down the sides from time to time. Cook for 30 minutes.  Pour into a greased bread pan or pan of your choice. I greased the pan with coconut oil, but butter works too. Allow to cool for an hour. Slice it like you would a loaf of bread. Pan fry the slices  in a little butter, until the are crispy on the outside. Serve with your favorite toppings.

Breakfast Polenta in a pool of blackberry syrup and topped with blackberry yogurt

Blackberry Syrup

  • 3 cups blackberries
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup water

In a small pot, combine all the ingredients. Over medium heat, bring the berries to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes or until reduced to the desired consistency. Strain out the berries, reserving the liquid. If you find that the liquid is thinner than you had anticipated, return the syrup to the pot and reduce by simmering for another 5 to 10 minutes.

No need to waste! The berries can be stirred into plain yogurt for a delicious treat (as seen above mixed with 2 cups of plain yogurt and 2 Tbsp of honey) or folded into a cup of butter to make blackberry butter.


I’m sharing this with  Meatless Mondays, Monday Mangia, Midnight Maniac, My Meatless Mondays, Mouth Watering Mondays, Mingle Monday, Monday Mania, Traditional Tuesdays, Tuesdays at the Table, A Little Birdie Told Me and Fat Tuesdays.

23 Responses to Breakfast Polenta Cakes with Blackberry Syrup

  1. Koko September 6, 2011 at 5:10 am #

    Creative recipe! I’ve never tried polenta as a breakfast food, or in a sweeter way. Sounds good to me!

    • France Morissette September 6, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

      H Koko, Check out the WWC event, there will be a bunch of recipe that are gluten free and wholesome, using cornmeal as a breakfast ingredient. It’s great to step outside of our comfort zone. This is my first time eating cornmeal for breakfast too. These polenta cakes are sooo good.

  2. Kelly September 6, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    Oh, that blueberry syrup looks too good! What a great recipe France – as always, I love how you use whole ingredients and make the effort to create something interesting and healthful. I really enjoy your work.

    • France Morissette September 7, 2011 at 5:23 am #

      Thanks Kelly, I feel the same way about your posts. Are you participating in the WWC at Lite Bites?

  3. Jill September 6, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe at FAT TUESDAY! The blackberries look amazing and the syrup perfect! Hope to see you next week with more great recipes.

  4. Laura September 7, 2011 at 5:15 am #

    We made this for breakfast this morning. When I saw this posted last night I could hardly wait. The only thing I would do differently than described is prepare it all the night before so in the morning all we would have to do is slice the cold polenta and fry it up and warm up the syrup. It would make a quick and nutritious brekfast that way (perfect for holidays maybe :). Thank you for such a wonderful morning!

    • France Morissette September 7, 2011 at 5:22 am #

      Laura, you’re absolutely right. I had a girlfriend over for breakfast today and all I had to do was exactly as you explained. Slice, fry, and serve. It was so quick and easy. It impresses as well, which is always nice when serving it to guest.

  5. Joanne September 7, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    I adore polenta, but I’ve never thought to turn it into breakfast before! I love that you can just make a “loaf” of it and then prepare it on the spot. That sauce on top looks delicious!

  6. Jeanette September 7, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    Love the idea of having polenta for breakfast, especially topped with your homemade blackberry syrup! Those thorns and torn clothes are worth it.

  7. Monna September 9, 2011 at 8:22 pm #

    France – thanks for this recipe! My mom used to make this for us when we were kids and it was a favorite. She’s gone now but this is a great reminder of a recipe I can make for my kiddos.

    • France Morissette September 10, 2011 at 2:55 am #

      That is so great. I had never heard of it before but I know that with cooking nothing is original. I’m glad it brought back some happy memories for you and I hope your children enjoy it!

  8. Anu September 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    Hello France,

    Thanks for linking this recipe to my event. I am really impressed by your creativity…
    Thanks for sharing this recipe….

    Very happy to follow you in FB….

    I would appreciate if you would link the post to my event announcement page so that it will help to spread the word….

    Here is the link to my Event Announcement page….


    Check out my DIWALI Event
    September Event “ALMONDS”
    Seotember Event WWC – “Cronmeal for Breakfast”

    • France Morissette September 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

      Sorry, the link must not have worked, I have refreshed it and it seems to be working now. I’m so happy to be taking part in the event Anu. I look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with.

  9. Jenn Erickson/Rook No. 17 September 12, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    What an incredible breakfast! I love the way you paired the polenta cakes with the blackberries, blackberry syrup and yogurt. And how wonderful to have blackberries growing in the wild nearby (despite the peril of the thorns).

    Thank you so much for linking up to “A Little Birdie Told Me…” at Rook No. 17. I’m spotlighting your post on my Facebook page.


    • France Morissette September 13, 2011 at 2:53 am #

      Wow That’s great Jenn! Thank you for highlighting my post.

  10. Jenn Erickson/Rook No. 17 September 13, 2011 at 6:25 am #

    Hi France, just wanted to pop back in to let you know that I made your post one of the special features on my weekly party as well.

    Have a great week!



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