Thursday, January 17, 2008

One Of My Favorite Things

And now to apologize for the previous post here is another recipe from Crescent Dragonwagon. This is a little different from most Southern cornbread recipes in the amount of white flour called for. It makes a little "cakier" cornbread than a traditional mostly cornmeal recipe. Of course, it also calls for some sugar which is a "travesty" according to some Southern cooks. Still, this makes a fine cornbread with nice texture. Don't ignore the instructions about getting the pan nice and hot before putting in the batter as this is the true secret of any good cornbread. Give it a try.
P.S. I also understand that "CD" is coming out with a new cookbook on nothing but cornbread.
P.P.S. You really should have a cast iron skillet for cornbread to be its best. You can use a regular skillet just make sure it has an oven proof handle.

Dairy Hollow House
Skillet-Sizzled Cornbread

Makes 1 Skillet, or 8 large wedges

The cornbread we served at the inn and its single most requested recipe, this is the first Southern food Crescent ever learned to fix. It's the recipe used in the inn’s very first Moos Letter, and it has been in many, many magazines and newspapers.

If you find the amount of butter melted in the bottom of the skillet truly unconscionable, you can cut it back to a tablespoon, and it'll still be very good.

Yellow cornmeal was used here in the Ozarks. In the Deep South, and to the East, white cornmeal was more frequently the choice. Of course, whichever one you first encountered is the right one. (Our cornbread was ready for its close-up in this 1990 inn photograph of Thanksgiving side-dishes).


1 cup stone ground yellow cornmeal.

1 cup unbleached white flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 to 3 tablespoons sugar

1 1/4 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup plain yogurt mixed with 1/4 cup water)

1 large egg

1/4 cup mild vegetable oil, such as corn, canola, or peanut


2 to 4 tablespoons butter

1. Preheat oven to 375. Make sure your oven's accurate, too; it really needs to be up to temperature to get perfect results.

2. In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and sugar. (If baking powder or soda appear at all lumpy, sift them in). Stir well to combine.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, and oil.

4. Spray a 9 to 10 ¼ -inch cast iron skillet with Pam (our skillets are 10 1/4 inch; this size is called a Number 7). Put the skillet on over medium heat, add the butter, and heat until the butter melts and is sizzling seriously. Tilt the pan to coat the sides of the skillet.

5. As the butter's melting, quickly pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and, using a wooden spoon, stir the wet and dry together with as few strokes as possible --- only as many as are needed to combine the two. Don't beat it; don't smooth it out. Scrape the batter into the hot, buttery skillet --- if you've gotten it hot enough it will sizzle as it goes in --- and pop it in the oven immediately.

6. Bake until golden brown on top, about 25 to 30 minutes. Serve, hot, cut in wedges
Update: I retested this recipe tonight and it is still a very nice cornbread.

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