White chocolate polenta with cherries and Amaretto

Serves 4

Polenta is a great vehicle for carrying and absorbing good flavours; usually it's a savoury ragu or maybe some fried ceps or even shavings of white truffles. For this dessert, I'm using polenta to soak up all the sweet flavours of a rich cherry sauce.

400g cherries, stoned
150g sugar
60ml cherry brandy or cherry liqueur (optional)
2tsp cornflour

For the polenta

750ml milk
75g quick cooking polenta
60-80g caster sugar
100ml double cream
80g white chocolate, grated or white chocolate buttons

Put 100g of the cherries into a saucepan with the sugar and about 300ml water; bring to the boil and simmer very gently for 15 minutes. Dilute the cornflour in a little water and stir enough into the cherries to thicken, then continue simmering for another 10 minutes.

Blend in a liquidiser until smooth then strain through a fine-meshed sieve into another saucepan. Put the stoned cherries in the sauce, bring to the boil and remove from the heat, then add the cherry liqueur, if using.

To make the polenta, bring the milk to the boil in a thick-bottomed pan, then whisk in the polenta and simmer on a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring every so often so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan – a simmer plate is perfect for this.

Add the sugar and cook for a couple more minutes, then stir in the cream and white chocolate until it has melted; remove from the heat, cover in clingfilm and keep warm. To serve, spoon the polenta on to warmed serving plates and spoon the cherries on top.

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