Cornmeal Cake with Fig and Banana Compote and Brown Butter-Rum Sauce
- Cornmeal Cake
- Unsalted Butter - 8 oz, room tempature
- Lemon Zest - 1 teaspoon
- Sugar - 2 cups, minus 1 tablespoon
- Eggs - 6, separated
- Vanilla Extract - 1 teaspoon
- Baking Soda - 1/2 teaspoon
- Sour Cream - 1 cup
- Cornmeal - 1 cup
- All Purpose Flour - 2 cups
- Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- Brown Butter-Rum Sauce
- Unsalted Butter - 1/4 pound
- Light Brown Sugar - 3/4 cup
- Dark rum - 2 oz
- Orange Juice - 6 oz, fresh
- Bananas - 2, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- Dried figs - 5, quartered and soaked in warm water for 10 minutes, then drained
- Pineapple - 1/2, cleaned and cut into small wedges
- Strawberries - 6, cut in half or quartered
- Pear - 1, peeled, cored, and cut in thin slices
- Creme Fraiche - 1/2 cup
- Mint - 6 sprigs
To prepare the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 F. Butter and dust a 9-inch-by-3-inch loaf pan or 10-inch round springform pan with cornmeal. Cream the butter, zest, and sugar on medium speed in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. With the machine running, add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla, baking soda, and sour cream; mix thoroughly. Sift together the cornmeal, flour, and salt. Add the mixture to the egg batter and beat just until combined.
In a separate bowl with clean beaters, whip the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold a large spoonful into the batter to lighten it, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the center springs back when touched, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then turn out of the pan and allow to cool completely.
To prepare the sauce: In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter and sugar and cook until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is bubbling. Add the orange juice and rum, guarding against spatters. Cook for 2 more minutes. Add the fruit and warm until the fruit is lightly glazed with sauce.
To serve: Cut six circles or slices of cornmeal cake and place a circle in the middle of each of six large dessert plates or shallow bowls. Top each cake with a spoonful of creme fraiche and brown with a small torch or under a hot broiler. Spoon fruit around each cake. Garnish with a mint sprig.