I wanted to make cornbread to go with my amazing pinto beans, and naturally, I didn’t have a cast iron corn pone pan on hand, and I didn’t want to make it in a skillet. So I rummaged in my cabinets, and found the perfect thing – my Madeleine pan – which, I’m sure, would make the French recoil in horror, but cornbreads are really just another form of a yellow cake, so I thought, why not?
So, out came the pan, and the mixing bowls.
This recipe is from Patty Vineyard MacDonald’s “The Best from Helen Corbitt’s Kitchens,” and I’ve made some adjustments, as you’ll see, but this is basically her recipe.
Preheat oven to 450 f.
1 cup yellow cornmeal½ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
Mix dry ingredients (above) thoroughly, then add without mixing:
1 cup buttermilk (half sour cream and milk)
½ to 1 cup sweet milk
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon soda
½ cup melted butter
I made this twice, and the first time was a complete disaster – batter was too thick and dry and resulted, not surprisingly, in a very dry cornbread.
Second time, I added an additional half cup of milk (actually I used cream, because that’s all that I had on hand), and used an additional ¼ cup of butter (the original recipe calls for melted shortening, and I’m stingy with my Crisco, because I like to use it for pie crusts).
So basically, when you mix everything together, make sure that the batter has some liquidity to it – if it’s still too thick, just add a bit more liquid. It’ll be thick, but shouldn’t look like drop biscuits, which is how my first batch turned out.
Grease pans with a bit of oil – here, I used tiny bits of Crisco – and put in the oven until it melts (about 5 minutes). Take pan from oven, pour off extra oil, and use a pastry brush to spread the oil evenly in the pan.
Spoon batter into pan, and bake for 20 minutes.
When you remove the pan from the oven, immediately turn it over, and let the cornbread Madeleines fall out onto the counter – this is what my mom always did, so I did this, too.
Sadly, I had no sorghum on hand – my dad’s favorite cornbread spread – so I used French butter and honey instead.