I am not a frequent baker.
I can bake, and I enjoy baking for my family’s benefit, but frankly, having to follow a recipe gives me a big headache.
That being said, I have made my version of cornbread, tweaked from an old, old Joy of Cooking recipe, so many times that I don’t actually have to follow the recipe anymore. So when Barry Jarvis, founder of the soon-to-be-published Edible Tulsa, gave me a bag of pecan flour from Knight Creek Farms and said “go forth and make something with this”, I thought it might go well in a batch of slightly sweet cornbread.
I had a pint of fresh figs in the refrigerator that were begging to be used in something delicious, and when I took them out, the raspberries asked to come along for the ride. So I started with my cornbread, added a hefty amount of pecan flour, bumped up the eggs and buttermilk a bit to account for the addition and decided that I needed a good quantity of sugar to turn this into something delicious.
And as it turns out, the first try yielded a cornbread that is hard to classify – sweet, but not so sweet that it falls into the sweet bread category, nutty and just with just enough fruit (although I thought to my self that the next time I bake this, I might throw an extra handful of raspberries into the mix so they get strewn about the batter before it goes into the pan). Minor details at best…
So maybe I am an OK baker…my husband approved whole-heartedly of my creation. And isn’t the fun of cooking in the endless possibilities for improvisation? In my case, yes!
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1½ cups coarse yellow cornmeal
- 1½ cups pecan flour
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1¾ cup buttermilk (or whole milk)
- 8 ounces fresh figs, stemmed and halved lengthwise
- A handful or two of raspberries
- Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
- Heat oven to 375°. Grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet (or cake pan, or springform pan, or two loaf pans) with butter.
- Cream butter and sugar until fluffy (in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer – I would not recommend a wooden spoon, for you will be standing there all day), about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating them until they are incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Meanwhile, stir together cornmeal, pecan flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk, until all ingredients are well combined.
- Scrape the batter into the pan, then arrange the figs and raspberries over the top. Sprinkle a good amount of turbinado sugar over the top and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Serve warm, with butter. I don’t think a smear of raspberry jam would hurt, either.