Pear Polenta Cake w/ Blueberry Custard

Posted on 12/20/09 in Recipes, No Comments

Pear polenta cake, blueberry custard on crème anglais


Ingredients For the Cake:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

For the Poached Pears:

  • 4 Red Anjou pears
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

For the crème anglaise:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup beet sugar

For the blueberry custard:

  • 2 quarts whole milk
  • 1 cup beet sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 egg yolks
  • 6 cups frozen blueberries

Method: For the blueberry custard: The blueberry custard should be made first, preferably the day before service. In a medium saucepan, heat the frozen blueberries on medium heat until they start breaking down and turn a dark violet color, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and allow to cool. Then puree the blueberry mixture and pour through a sieve to remove stem pieces and skins. Chill in the refrigerator for later use. Start the blueberry custard by heating the milk in a large sauce pan on medium heat. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl whisk together the yolks, sugar, and salt until mixture becomes creamy and turns a light yellow color. When the milk is starting to steam, but not boiling, remove the saucepan from the heat. Then pour a small amount of the hot milk into the yolk mixture while whisking slowly. This will temper the yolks so they don't clump. Slowly add the rest of the milk while whisking. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook on medium heat until you see steam forming and coming off the custard. If you have a candy thermometer or instant read thermometer, this is when the custard reaches 170F. Make sure you slowly stir the custard the whole time, otherwise your custard will burn. A silicon rubber spatula is the best for this. When the custard reaches the proper temperature, you will notice it thicken. At this point, remove from the heat, and pour through a sieve to remove any chunks that may have formed. You will need to chill the custard. The best way to do this is to pour into a shallow pan and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Once both the custard and blueberry puree have chilled, combine the 2 by pouring the blueberry puree into the custard mixture and slowly stirring until thoroughly combined. Now you can run this through your ice cream maker according to appliance directions. For the Poached Pears: Next poach the pears. Core the pears and cut them in half lengthwise. Place the halves, skin side up in a wide pan. Add the water, sugar, and spices. Heat to a low boil and cook on a simmer for 10 minutes. Flip the pears over and continue to cook until the pears are tender. Drain and allow the pears to cool. Finally, slice the pears into thin slices about 1/8” thick and set aside. You will need the pears for the cake. For the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together to combine. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs yolks and sugar. Whisk until mixture becomes creamy and turns a light yellow color. Add the oil, milk and vinegar and whisk slowly to combine. Now add the dry flour mixture into the wet mixture, one third at a time, and stir until well combined. Pour onto a half sheet pan lined with parchment. Lay the thin pear slices over the cake, evenly distributed over the whole cake. Place in the center rack of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the cake rises evenly. The cake should be golden brown and the toothpick test should come out clean when poked in the center of the cake. Allow the cake to rest and cool. For the crème anglaise: Start by whisking the egg yolks and sugar until creamy and mixture turns a light yellow color. Stir in the milk, then add the mixture to a medium saucepan. Heat on medium high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and steam forms on top of the crème. Do not boil. Remove from the heat, pour through a sieve and allow to cool completely before using. Final Assembly: For final assembly, cut the cake into 4” rounds using round cutter or an empty tomato sauce can. With a 1 ounce ladle, drop 1 ounce of crème anglaise and spread into a larger circle using the belly of the ladle. Place a 2 ounce scoop of blueberry custard in the center of the crème circle. Place cake circle next to the custard and serve.

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