"This lovely cake comes from the region of Piedmont, and it's one of my all-time favourites," says Brigitte Hafner. "It's a little bit of work, so I usually make it for special occasions. The colour of the red wine-tinged pears against the yellow polenta is beautiful. Try to get a fine polenta if you can, because it'll make handling of the pastry easier." The poaching liquid makes an excellent syrup. Simply reduce the liquid in a saucepan over high heat to a thick syrupy consistency, drizzle it over the torte and serve with whipped cream.