Polenta and pear crossover deluxe

Lemon polenta cake means it’s birthday time in our house. A sack of polenta has a solid heft; plump, sturdy and chirpily yellow. You could have a good pillow fight with a bag of polenta.

But, birthdays aside, sometimes a pudding is what you need. So this is my polenta cake/pear pudding crossover deluxe.

I’ve adapted the base of this recipe from the River Cafe’s lemon polenta cake. The original is a vast, delicious mattress of a cake; my version is less of a duvet, more of a blanket.

225g butter (If it’s unsalted, add a pinch of salt. If your butter is slightly salted, which mine always is, just omit the pinch)

225g vanilla sugar

225g ground almonds

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 eggs

Juice of 1 lemon

Zest of 2 lemons

115g polenta

1 teaspoon baking powder

Mix the butter and sugar thoroughly together. Stir in the almonds and vanilla extract and add the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the lemon juice and zest, along with the polenta and the baking powder. Pour the mixture into a buttered flan dish, about 10 inches in diameter. Peel, core and thinly slice the pears.

Poke the slices of pear into the polenta mixture, in two concentric circles.

Bake at 160 degrees C for about thirty minutes. The top should be a rich dark brown and the pears soft.

Enjoy for breakfast, lunch and tea – if you’re lucky, all on the same day.

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