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.

This recipe was to have been included in the book, but fell to the cutting room floor when we realized, as Salieri did about Mozart, that there were "too many notes!" Not that I am a Mozart. But the book could have been twice as fat. Easy. And then twice the price. Hence. No cornbread (but the ginger ale pig made it! The best ham in the world - look in the November chapter.)

The addition of fluffy egg whites in this version of cornbread 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.

1 stick (110gr) of butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 cup flour
1 cup cornflour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 400'F/200'C. Butter a bread 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, baking powder and salt. Stir in the milk and add the cornmeal. 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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