apple cornbread stuffing

 Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and I’ve been busy planning my menu for a while now.  I’ve already found the perfect cornbread, we’ve ordered a turkey, I have six pie crusts in my fridge… the only thing left is the stuffing! Stuffing has always been my favorite Thanksgiving dish, so this year, it better be good.  We usually make stuffing from a mix, but  I want to make homemade stuffing this year.  I was getting frustrated finding a recipe that measured up to Kraft’s Stove Top Stuffing Mix.  The recipes that I tried all have either too much chicken broth, are to mushy, or are too oily.

Luckily, this one is different.  It’s not a traditional stuffing (i.e. you can’t actually stuff a turkey with it), but boy is it good. It’s technically a bread pudding, but when served in a casserole dish, it can totally pass for stuffing. It is a wonderful medley of sweet and savory flavors.  Apples, fluffy bread, and whipping cream complement sage, cornbread and onions.

This recipe is from the restaurant Ris in Washington D.C.. The Washingtonian has a series called “recipe sleuth” where they track down awesome recipes from famous restaurants in Washington D.C.. I love knowing that I can save time and money making real, restaurant food at home.  It makes me feel like I’m beating the system.

When I tested the recipe, I used a loaf of brioche from Whole Foods. However, there was a sale on panettone at the grocery store this weekend, so I am planning on replacing the brioche with panettone for our Thanksgiving feast.  I use homemade cornbread in this recipe (bake up a double batch, use half in this recipe, and serve half as a side dish); however, store bought cornbread would work just fine as well.

With love,
Erica

NOTE: The panettone makes this recipe absolutely delicious! Brioche and challah are good, but panettone makes this casserole absolutely legendary. If you can get your hands on one, by all means use panettone.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing ramekins
1 cup peeled, ¾-inch diced Honeycrisp or Braeburn apples
1 cup finely julienned onions
2 cups ¾-inch diced cornbread, from a favorite recipe or storebought
2 cups ¾-inch diced brioche or challah (I use Panettone which is DELICIOUS)
4 tablespoons chopped fresh sage (blanch the leaves before chopping)
4 tablespoons fresh thyme
4 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
½ teaspoon ground pepper
4 ounces apple butter (see recipe below)
4 large eggs
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 cups heavy cream

Butter
the bottom and sides of eight 8-ounce ramekins and set aside. Preheat
the oven to 300 degrees for a convection oven or 325 for a conventional
oven.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a pan over medium-high heat.
Add the cut apples, letting them sit briefly to gain color. Stir and
allow them to cook a few minutes more until they’re lightly brown but
still firm. Remove from pan and set aside.

Melt the other
tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, stirring
occasionally until they’re soft and lightly colored, about 5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and let cool.

In a large
bowl, combine the cornbread, brioche, herbs, salt, white pepper, apple
butter, and the caramelized apples and onions once they’ve cooled. In a
separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, Tabasco, and cream.
Add the egg mixture to the cornbread mixture and let soak for 10
minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Divide the mixture into each of the buttered ramekins, filling
each to ¼ inch from the top. Place the ramekins in a water bath and bake
for about 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
(This recipe can be prepared in a larger casserole form, which bakes for
a longer time, roughly 45 minutes. Again, test the doneness with a
toothpick.)


Apple Butter

2 Honeycrisp or Braeburn apples, peeled and sliced (roughly ¼-inch thick)
1 tablespoon butter

Melt
the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the sliced apples, letting
them rest a minute or two to get color. Stir and cook a few minutes
longer so the apples are lightly brown and soft. Purée in a blender, and
let cool before mixing with other ingredients.

From the Washingtonian

recipe showdown: cornbread

I’ve already fallen in love with custard cornbread, but with Thanksgiving just around the corner, I figured I needed a really great traditional, buttermilk cornbread recipe up my sleeve.  I tried Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread from All Recipe which boasts over 3000 five star reviews, All-Purpose Cornbread from Cook’s Illustrated 20th Anniversary Best Recipes Cookbook, and Perfect Cornbread from Little B Cooks. I fed them all to my family and friends alongside a piping hot bowl of tomato soup, and there was a clear winner.

In past Recipe Showdowns, I have been a bit frustrated by the fact that often there isn’t a clear winner.  In the past, both of the recipes are so good, it’s really unfair to put one above the other. 
One of the ideas behind Recipe Showdown is that I can “test-drive” the most popular recipes, so that you don’t have to. For example, let’s say your friends ask you to bring cornbread to a holiday get-together.  You won’t have to waste ingredients trying all the recipes, or risk serving something less than delicious to your friends, since I’ve done all the dirty work for you!

Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread

In this showdown, Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread was a clear winner over All-Purpose Cornbread.  It has a nice, crunchy, golden brown top and a sweet, flavorful texture.  All-Purpose came up short with an overly crumbly texture and a chunky, pale exterior. However, Perfect Cornbread boasted some pretty great health stats (1/3 cup coconut oil over a whole stick of butter!).  Perfect Cornbread also had a nice texture which would satisfy all (not as cakey as Grandmother’s, and not as crumbly as All-Purpose).  I also loved the slight hint of rich coconut flavor in Little B Cooks’ recipe.  Healthy, perfect texture, and delicious? Looks like we have a winner!

All-Purpose Cornbread. Not too pretty…

As always, feel free to challenge the winner with your own delicious cornbread recipe!
With love,
Erica


Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread
Cook’s Illustrated All-Purpose Cornbread
Little B Cooks Perfect Cornbread
Description
“Grandma’s recipe for a sweet moist cornbread is likely to become your favorite!”
“Brushing regional differences aside, we wanted both a tender, fluffy crumb and a thick crunchy crust.  But what we wanted most of all was sweet corn flavor.”
Perfect cornbread – I substituted 1/3 cup coconut oil for the olive oil for a sweet and healthy twist!
Taster’s notes
Looks like cornbread
More flavor
Crunchy top
Sugar
Amazing crust
Yummy golden edges
Crumbly
I would be embarrassed to bring this to a potluck
Pale color
Not crunchy
No crust, edges just crumble
Chunky
Delicious
Healthy
Sweeter than other breads
Texture closer to desired cornbread (between the two other breads)



Perfectly Moist Cornbread 
Adapted from Little B Cooks

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
½ cup sugar

2 ½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup milk

1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)

1 egg
  Preheat oven to 375, and spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray.  In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients.  Add the egg, milk and vegetable oil and stir until just combined.  Pour batter into pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

custard cornbread

When the air gets chilly, there is nothing I love more than a big, steamy bowl of my mom’s soup.  She makes ratatouille, chili, and minestrone. But my all time favorite is her butternut squash soup.  It is delicious on its own, but it’s absolutely perfect with a big wedge of custardy cornbread on the side.

It’s kind of a funny story how I found this recipe.  I was perusing the internet, the usual suspects (i.e. Pinterest and Foodgawker), and saw something strange, almost disgusting, and oh-so intriguing.  It was called spider cake. (perfect for Halloween right?!)
A cake with spiders in it? God I hope not!
A spider shaped cake? A spider shaped cake? Won’t that be hard to get out of the pan?
Soon enough, I found out that this cake has absolutely nothing to do with spiders. Whew. Because I am completely arachnophobic.

It’s actually a delicious cornbread with a lovely, custard filling.  Crumbly, buttery, and with a super-crisp outside.  Exactly how cornbread should be. I love how it gets baked in a cast iron skillet.  It makes me feel all nice and rustic.

A warm slice of this cake covered in maple syrup is about as good as it gets.

With love, Erica

Custard-Filled Cornbread (The Breakfast Book by Marion Cuningham)

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square (or 9-inch round)
cake pan that is about 2-inches deep. Put the buttered dish or pan in
the oven and let it get hot while you mix the batter.
Put the eggs in a mixing bowl and add the melted butter. Beat until
the mixture is well blended. Add the sugar, salt, milk, and vinegar and
beat well. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking
powder and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, mix
just until the batter is smooth and no lumps remain.
Pour the batter into the heated dish, then pour the cream into the center of the batter—don’t stir. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve warm with maple syrup.