Brown Butter Cornmeal Cake with Summer Fruit

1 ½ pounds (about 700 g) apricots, peaches, or plums
12 tablespoons (6 oz / 170 g) unsalted butter
½ cup (2 ½ oz/ 70 g) polenta
1 cup (4 ½ oz / 130 g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup (5 ¼ oz / 150 g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (1 ¾ oz / 50 g) brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon chopped dried lavender (optional)

1 ½ to 2 tablespoons course sugar, such as turbinado or coarse sparkling sugar

Melt butter in a light-colored, heavy bottomed saucepan on medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally or stirring until the butter is amber-colored and smells nutty. Immediately pour the butter into a separate bowl and allow to cool for about 25 minutes or better yet refrigerate until solidified.

If using peaches peel by cutting an X on the non-stem end and blanch in boiling water for 15 – 30 seconds (depending on ripeness). Remove to an ice bath, cool and then peel. Halve the fruit and remove the pits. Slice the fruit into 3/4- to 1-inch wedges. Set aside.

Grease a 9 x 3-inch (23cm) springform or cake pan with butter and line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Set a seive over a medium mixing bowl and sift together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer using with the paddle attachment beat the cooled brown butter and both sugars until combined. Add the eggs one at a time and beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, or until light-colored and fluffy. Add the vanilla or almond extract mix until combined.

Add the cornmeal-flour mixture to the bowl and mix just until combined. Scrape batter into the prepared cake pan and use a spatula to spread it to the edges and smooth the top. Arrange the sliced fruit in concentric circles over the batter and gently pressing each slice as you go. (Avoid placing the fruit up against the sides of the pan. You’ll thank me later when removing the cake from the pan.)

Sprinkle the course sugar over the top and bake for about an hour or until the center feels just set or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out free of cake crumbs.

Remove to a cooling rack and run a knife around the outside of the cake before any bubbled sugar cools and sticks to the pan. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche.

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