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Olive oil and polenta cake with vermouth pears

You'll need

3 eggs, at room temperature 220 gm (1 cup) caster sugar 80 ml (1/3 cup) olive oil 2 lemons, finely grated rind and juice only 1 tsp vanilla extract 190 gm coarse polenta 75 gm (½ cup) plain flour 1½ tsp baking powder   Vermouth pears 110 gm (½ cup firmly packed) brown sugar 250 ml (1 cup) sweet red vermouth 8 fresh bay leaves 8 pieces of lemon rind, removed with a vegetable peeler 4 firm Packham pears, peeled, cored and halved lengthways


  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 150C. Using an electric mixer, whisk eggs and sugar until pale and creamy (about 5 minutes). Slowly add olive oil in a thin stream, continuing to whisk, then add lemon rind and vanilla. Combine polenta, flour, baking powder and ½ tsp salt, sift dry ingredients in 3 batches over egg mixture, alternating with lemon juice and folding to combine well. Pour batter into a lightly oiled 20cm ring mould, bake until a skewer withdraws clean (40-45 minutes). Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • 02
  • For vermouth pears, increase oven to 200C. Combine sugar and vermouth in a jug, stir to combine and dissolve sugar. Arrange pears face down snugly in a roasting pan, scatter with bay leaves and lemon rind, pour over vermouth mixture and roast, turning halfway through cooking and basting occasionally, until golden and tender (15-20 minutes). Cool to room temperature.
  • 03
  • Serve cake in wedges with vermouth pears.

At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

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