Pear, apple and polenta crunch



  • 3 Pink Lady or other good cooking apples, peeled and diced
  • 2 Bartlett pears, peeled and diced
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon and two tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground star anise
  • 1 tablespoon flour  
  • ½ cup Demerara sugar
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter½ cup toasted sliced almonds


Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).Place apples and pears in a bowl and toss with sugar, lemon rind and juice, cinnamon, apple juice and star anise. Butter a 6-cup gratin dish and pile in fruit.

Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes or until fruit starts to soften. Sprinkle flour over fruit and toss to coat.

Combine sugar, cornmeal, flour, salt and butter in a food processor. Process until mixture is clumpy. Add almonds and stir to combine. Sprinkle topping over fruit and bake a further 30 minutes or until fruit is soft and bubbling. Serve with ice cream.


Sweet vin santo or passito di Pantelleria add a complementary raisin-like character to this polenta crunch. - Beppi Crosariol