Sunday, June 29, 2014

Bon Appetit Desserts: Cornmeal Pound Cake with Rosemary Syrup, Poached Pears, and Candied Rosemary

Right, there is a lot going on with this!

The cake is rather easy to put together and because my oven is moody at times, I was able to bake it in one hour, instead of an hour and 15 minutes.

Even though there are three separate components to this recipe, they all come together quite nicely. While the cake is baking you can poach the pears, and while the pears are poaching, you can make the candied rosemary.

It sure does look lovely!

If you would like to pin these recipes, I have a board on Pinterest called, 'My Bon Appetit Journey'.

Cornmeal Pound Cake with Rosemary Syrup, Poached Pears, and Candied Rosemary

Rosemary is typically used in savory dishes, but here it flavors a sweet syrup that plays off the pears, turning a humble pound cake into a sophisticated dessert. The rosemary is also delicious in a cup of tea; candied rosemary makes a perfect decoration for a holiday Yule log. 8 servings


3 cups water

2 cups sugar

1 cup dry or off-dry Riesling

3 fresh rosemary sprigs

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

8 Forelle pears or other small pears, peeled, stems left intact

Pound Cake

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1- 1/3 cups sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

5 large eggs, beaten to blend in a medium bowl

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Syrup and Candied Rosemary

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

8 4-inch long fresh rosemary sprigs

Superfine sugar


Pears: Combine 3 cups water, sugar, Riesling, rosemary, vanilla bean, and peppercorns in heavy large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add pears and bring syrup to boil, turning pears occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until pears are tender, about 20 minutes. Chill pears in syrup until cold, at least 3 hours.

Do ahead: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.

Pound cake: Preheat oven to 325ºF. Butter and flour 9x 5x 3-inch metal loaf pan. Whisk flour and cornmeal in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar, then salt.  Drizzle in beaten eggs by tabelspoonfuls, beating constantly, then beat in vanilla. Add dry ingredients in 3 additions, beating just to blend after each addition. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake cake until brown on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool cake in pan 15 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack and cool completely.

Do ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in foil and store at room temperature.

Syrup and Candied Rosemary: Bring 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to simmer in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add rosemary. Simmer until syrup reduces slightly, swirling pan occasionally, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, transfer rosemary sprigs to rack and drain. Cover and reserve rosemary syrup.

Pour superfine sugar in shallow  bowl. Add drained rosemary sprigs to sugar, 1 at a time, turning to coat thickly. Place on paper towels. Dry at least one hour.

Do ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead. Let sprigs and syrup stand at room temperature.

Cut dark ends off of cake. Cut eight 1/2- 3/4-inch thick cake slices. Cut each slice diagonally in half. Arrange 2 halves on each plate. Drain pears. Stand 1 pear on each plate. Drizzle each dessert with reserved syrup and garnish with candied rosemary sprig. Serve, passing remaining rosemary syrup separately.

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