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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