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Polenta Cake with Bosc Pears

Yield 6 servings (serving size: 1 cake wedge and 4 pear quarters)


  • 1/3 cup stick margarine, softened
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped peeled Granny Smith apple
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 small firm Bosc pears, cored and quartered (about 2 1/4 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar or granulated sugar
  • Cinnamon sticks (optional)

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.

  2. Beat margarine and 1/3 cup brown sugar at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add milk and lemon rind; beat well. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (flour through salt); add to creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in chopped apple.

  3. Spoon batter into a 9-inch round cake pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350º for 28 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes; remove from pan. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

  4. Preheat oven to 475º.

  5. Combine remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar, water, and cinnamon in a 2-cup glass measure; stir well. Microwave at high 30 seconds or until sugar dissolves. Combine pears and brown sugar mixture; toss well. Arrange pears, cut sides down, in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Bake at 475º for 15 minutes or until tender. Turn pears over; sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake an additional 5 minutes. Serve with cake. Garnish with cinnamon sticks, if desired.