Polenta is super versatile. Eaten while soft and hot it can make a lovely porridge or a base for saucy beans. Let cool and it becomes firm enough to use as a crust for pizza or even as a pancake substitute. Here it transforms into a warm and nourishing dessert.
This fruit compote is based on fruit that is readily available in Autumn in the Pacific Northwest. You can make it with a wide variety of fruit that you may have on hand. I like to cook the apple and raisins for a while and then add other softer fruits near the end of the cooking time. In this recipe I add the plum in the beginning with the apple, but you can also add it at the same time as the pear.
Sweet Polenta with Fruit Compote
2 cups water
1 cup apple juice
1/2 cup polenta, non GMO
1/4 cup cornmeal, non GMO
2-3 tsp maple syrup
1 tart green apple, cored and cut small, leave skin on
1 plum, take the pit out and cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp or more water
1 pear, core and cut into bite size pieces
1. Make the polenta. Bring the water and juice to a boil in a medium pot. Add a few moderate pinches sea salt.
2. In a bowl, mix together the polenta and cornmeal. Whisk it into the boiling liquid and continue whisking until incorporated. Lower the heat to simmer. Stir occasionally as it cooks to keep the grain from sticking to the bottom and to help it cook evenly. Cook for about 15 minutes. Polenta will be moderately thick and soft when done. You want it to be the texture of a soft porridge. If it seems too thick, add a little more liquid.
3. Make the fruit compote. Add the apple, plum, raisins, sea salt and 2 Tbsp water to a medium pot. Bring to a boil, turn heat to simmer and let cook for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally and add a little more water if necessary to keep it from burning.
4. Add the pear to the compote and cook for a few more minutes until the pear has softened and compote is thick.
5. When polenta is done, remove from heat and add maple syrup. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust according to the sweetness you desire.
6. Serve polenta hot with a spoonful of fruit compote on top.
To reheat the polenta, place it in a pan with some water or juice. Cook it for a few minutes and use a whisk to break up the chunks. It will become soft and smooth again.