I know January is typically the month we all turn our thoughts to getting rid of the Christmas excesses, but I'm not sure how you can do that when there is still Christmas food in the freezer. I've always tried to make a bit of an effort towards the end of January, afterall I've got a stash of chocolate that needs eating up and I'm sure it's not going to go to waste whilst starting some kind of daft diet.
I'm not sure that this is an authentic Italian polenta cake, but putting that aside, it tastes delicious. The recipe is a bit of a faff and the mixture at times doesn't look very promising but it turned out to make a fabulous dessert. If you have a couple of ripe pears in the fruit bowl, but not overly ripe, this recipe is a great way to use them up.
You will need: 23cm springform tin, greased with butter and base lined. Dust the tin with flour.
100g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
large pinch of salt
grated zest of one lemon
2 large eggs
75g golden caster sugar
5 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp raisins
50g unsalted butter (softened)
2 medium desserts pears (peeled and sliced)
25g unsalted butter, softened
10g caster sugar
2 tbsp apricot jam
toasted flaked almonds
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
2. Mix the flour, polenta, baking powder, salt and lemon zest together in a bowl.
3. Beat the eggs and half the sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Little by little beat in the milk and almond extract. Beat in the flour and very soft butter. Note: I had an issue mixing the butter into the batter by hand and had to whiz everything briefly in the food processor (but in my case the Thermomix) to make a lump-free batter. Stir in the raisins. Now dollop the mixture into the tin and smooth evenly.
5. Arrange the pear slices over the cake batter. Melt the butter and brush over the slices of pear. Sprinkle over the caster sugar.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes until golden and cooked through.
7. Place the tin on a cooling rack and allow the cake to cool in the tin for 15 minutes.
8. Remove the cake from the tin. Heat the apricot jam with 1 tablespoon of water, brush over the top of cake.
9. Decorate with toasted flaked almonds and a dusting of icing sugar.
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