Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Perfect cornbread

I forget to make cornbread, despite how nice this one is. Then Thanksgiving happens and I remember. And I ask myself again why I don't bake it more often.

This year, we will be in South Africa, and I will miss this holiday meal that I have come to love, very much. The day after the Cape Town book release and three days before my mother's birthday shindig (the real reason we are going to Cape Town), I'm not sure that any of us will have it in us to rustle up a Thanksgiving vibe, in high summer in the Cape. But never say never.

The addition of fluffy egg whites in this version makes it a very light and soft loaf, and nothing like the cornbread bricks I have known. It is the perfect vehicle for slices of leftover ham.

[12/24/14: I bulked up the original recipe recently, adding more flour, and a little more of the other ingredients, it makes a better proportioned loaf. The updated recipe needs another test run, so proceed with caution until you hear otherwise.]

1 1/4 sticks (150gr) of butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated, plus 1 extra egg white
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups cornflour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
1 cup milk, plus another splash

Preheat the oven to 400'F/200'C. Butter a loaf pan.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar and add the egg yolks. Stir well. Add a little flour if the mixture separates and beat again.

In another, extra-clean bowl, beat the egg whites till gentle peaks form, and set aside.

To the creamed butter add the flour and salt and some of the milk. Stir, adding more milk, and add the cornmeal. Add the baking powder last and stir well again. Fold in half the egg whites, incorporating them gently, and then add the second half, mixing quite gently until the mixture is well integrated but not beaten flat.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 25 - 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

It is best served with nothing but sweet butter. But it does love that topping of thinly sliced ham.

Make two. This goes fast.

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