In Mexico, this simple cake is called panqué de elote, pan de elote or pastel de elote. It is often served for breakfast. We ate it for dessert after our family favorite Middle School Tacos on Cinco de Mayo this year and ate the leftovers for breakfast. Perfect. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from Milk Street. The original recipe accurately describes the texture as somewhere between cake and cornbread while hinting at custard. I used Greek yogurt and modified the method and the baking time for a convection oven. I served the cake with strawberries which was a lovely accompaniment.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
3 medium ears fresh corn, preferably yellow, husked (see Note)
36 grams (1/4 cup) fine yellow cornmeal
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
57 grams (1/4 cup) plain whole-milk yogurt (I used whole-milk Greek yogurt)
165 grams (1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
2 T cornstarch
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp table salt
2 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
Confectioners’ sugar, to serve
fresh strawberries, to serve
Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. (I set my oven to the true convection setting.)
Mist a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray.
Hold an ear of corn upright in the center of a medium bowl. Using a chef’s knife, cut the kernels from the corn. Repeat with the additional two ears. Measure 250 grams (1 1/2 cups) of the freshly cut kernels and add to a blender; if you have extra corn, reserve it for another use.
To the blender, add the cornmeal, condensed milk and yogurt, then puree until smooth, 15 to 20 seconds, scraping down the blender as needed. Let stand for 10 minutes. (I used a Vitamix.)
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
To the blender, add the whole eggs and yolks, and the oil; blend on low until smooth, 5 to 10 seconds.
Pour the puree into a large bowl.
Add the flour mixture and whisk just until evenly moistened and no lumps of flour remain. It is important that you don’t whisk vigorously! Gentle mixing, just until no pockets of flour remain, will minimize gluten development so the finished cake is tender.
Transfer to the prepared cake pan and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes in a convection oven or 40 to 45 minutes in a standard oven.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
Run a paring knife around the pan to loosen the cake, then invert directly onto the rack and lift off the pan. Re-invert the cake onto a serving platter and cool completely, about 1 hour.
Serve dusted with Confectioners’ sugar with strawberry slices on the side.
Note: Don’t use frozen corn kernels—it results in a dense, gummy texture. Made with fresh corn, the cake’s crumb is much lighter and softer.
I loved that this recipe used buttermilk to moisten the stuffing- in addition to the more typical stock and butter. The sausage was not overpowering in the finished dish but added great flavor. I used locally made sweet Italian sausage with fennel seeds- perfect.
This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Yewande Komolafe. The sausage could be omitted for a vegetarian version. The original recipe notes that if store-bought or boxed mix cornbread is used, it should be crumbled and and spread out on a sheet pan to dry for 4 to 12 hours prior to assembling the dish. I made the accompanying cornbread recipe, which does not require drying time, two days prior to making the dish.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
For the Cornbread:
8 T/115 grams/1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus more for brushing the pan
1 1/2 cups/250 g medium-coarse yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup/114 g all-purpose flour
1/4 cup/55 g granulated sugar
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups/470 milliliters buttermilk, preferably full-fat (I used low-fat)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
For the Dressing:
3 T unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
1 T neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola, plus more if needed
1 pound loose pork sausage (I used sweet Italian sausage)
1 large yellow onion, very finely chopped (2 cups)
4 celery ribs, very finely chopped (2 cups)
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 T chopped fresh sage (from 10 large leaves)
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 recipe cornbread for dressing, broken into 1-inch pieces, or 10 cups loosely packed cornbread
1 1/2 cups chicken, turkey or vegetable stock
1 cup buttermilk, preferably full-fat (I used low-fat)
To Make the Cornbread:
Heat oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch skillet, preferably cast-iron, and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. (I weighed the dry ingredients when possible.)
Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk and eggs. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir until incorporated.
Fold in the melted butter.
Pour the batter into the prepared skillet and smooth the top.
Bake until the top is lightly browned and the sides pull away cleanly from the skillet, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool completely and serve warm or room temperature, or reserve to make cornbread dressing.
To Assemble & Bake the Dressing:
Heat oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Heat a large skillet over medium and pour in the oil.
Add the sausage and cook, using a wooden spoon to break it into small pieces, until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink, about 8 minutes.
Transfer the cooked sausage to a plate, keeping any fat in the skillet. Add a few additional tablespoons oil if needed to evenly coat the bottom.
Add the onion and celery to the skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes.
Add the garlic, thyme, oregano, fennel seeds and sage, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Return the cooked sausage to the skillet and stir to incorporate. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, add the cornbread pieces and toss to combine.
Pour in the stock and buttermilk, and stir until well mixed. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.
Transfer the cornbread mixture to your prepared dish and spread evenly.
Drizzle the melted butter over the top.
Cover the dish with foil and bake until heated through, 30 to 35 minutes.
Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees, remove the foil and bake until the surface is golden brown in spots, 15 to 20 minutes.
My family really embraces strawberry season. We can’t get enough freshly picked Long Island berries! 🙂 After making our essential Strawberry-Vanilla Bean Jam, I made this super moist, coarse-textured snack cake which incorporated my special jam.
I baked the cake a day in advance and served it for dessert with homemade Fresh Strawberry Gelato. Yes, it was over the top! We ate the leftovers for breakfast. In retrospect, although it is sweet enough to be a dessert, I think that I would serve it for breakfast, or as a special snack with tea or coffee, next time. It was a wonderful breakfast- such a treat.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Sarah Jampel. I modified the baking time and used homemade jam. The jam sinks to the bottom of the cake and, with the granulated sugar coating, forms a crispy, caramelized crust. Yum.
Yield: One 13×9-inch sheet cake
8 to 10 oz strawberries, hulled, thinly sliced lengthwise
238 g (1 cup plus 3 T) granulated sugar, divided, plus more for pan
1 tsp Kosher salt, plus more
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for pan (or use cooking spray for pan)
Gently toss strawberries, 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, and a pinch of coarse salt in a medium bowl. Let sit, stirring occasionally, until ready to use.
Grease a 13×9-inch metal baking pan with oil or cooking spray. Line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on 2 long sides.
Grease parchment with oil or cooking oil spray. Generously sprinkle pan and parchment with sugar, tilting to coat pan in an even layer; tap out excess.
Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, 200 g (1 cup) sugar, and 1 teaspoon coarse salt in a medium bowl.
Whisk eggs, egg yolks, sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla in a large bowl until well combined.
Add dry ingredients to sour cream mixture and whisk gently to combine.
Using a spatula, gradually fold in 3/4 cup oil until batter is smooth and homogenous with all of the oil incorporated.
Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.
Stir the strawberry jam to make more fluid. Using a small spoon, dollop jam onto surface. (I made 36 small dollops over the surface of the cake.) Using a butter knife or small offset spatula, gently swirl jam into batter.
Arrange reserved strawberries on top of batter in even rows, touching at widest points. (You may have extra sliced berries; reserve for another use.) See note.
Sprinkle all over with remaining 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar.
Bake cake until risen and deeply bronzed with no damp spots in the middle, the sides begin to pull away from the pan, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes in a convection oven or up to 40–45 minutes in a standard oven.
Note: Because the strawberries will shrink and sink a bit during baking (how much depends on their size and sweetness), make sure they’re placed shoulder to shoulder on top of the batter. (My design didn’t hold up very well during the baking process but no one seemed to mind.)
Do Ahead: Cake can be made 4 days ahead. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
My entire family looks forward to my husband’s birthday feast. It typically involves a lot of comfort food like fried chicken and macaroni and cheese. 🙂 We always have his favorite Vanilla Bean Cheesecake as our celebratory dessert.
When my food blog friend Jess@Cooking is My Sport posted Cornmeal Sage Chicken Biscuits, I knew that my husband would absolutely love them. My first thought was to serve them on Valentine’s Day but then I realized that they would be perfect for his birthday dinner. Jess is an amazing cook and baker but most of all I must say that she is a complete master of biscuits. I learned many new techniques from her post in order to make biscuits thick enough to create a sandwich. Flaky and amazing! I also loved that she incorporated cornmeal in both the biscuits and the seasoned flour that is used to coat the fried chicken. This recipe also made all of us fans of Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute.
I served these fried chicken biscuits with classic macaroni and cheese and green salad dressed with Icebox Buttermilk Dressing. The chicken biscuit recipe was adapted from CookingisMySport.com. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, modified the proportions, cut the biscuits into squares, and omitted the topping. My daughter declared it was the best birthday feast ever. 🙂
Yield: Serves 12 to 14
For the Cornmeal & Sage Biscuits:
Yield: approximately 14 2-inch biscuits
5 cups all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tsp coarse salt
2 T baking powder
2 tsp ground sage
1 T savory spice mix (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
12 T (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, frozen
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 to 2 cups buttermilk, plus more if necessary
For the Fried Chicken Thighs:
Yield: about 16 to 18 pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
4 tsp baking powder
4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 heaping tsp savory spice mix (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)
2 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 cups buttermilk
8 to 9 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds), trimmed, halved crosswise, patted dry
8 cups vegetable oil
hot sauce, for serving, optional (we used Chipotle Cholula)
bread and butter pickles, for serving, optional
To Make the Cornmeal & Sage Biscuits:
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, coarse salt, baking powder, sugar, ground sage and the seasoning mix.
Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the butter directly into the dry ingredients; stir with a fork.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; add the sour cream. Using a fork, incorporated it into the dry ingredients until it forms thick clumps.
Make another well in the center of the dry ingredients; add the buttermilk. Use a large fork and a large rubber spatula to stir the mixture together. If it seems a little dry you may add the additional buttermilk, just until it forms a shaggy dough. (I added 1 3/4 cups of buttermilk.)
Sprinkle a pastry mat, wooden cutting board, or a clean, smooth countertop with flour. (I used a silpat baking mat.)
Turn the dough out onto the floured surface and pat a few times with your hands until it loosely holds together. (Don’t knead it too much or the warmth in your palms will melt the butter and cause the biscuits to be tough.)
Use a bench scraper (or a large sharp knife) to divide the dough in half. Roughly shape each half into a square.
Stack one of the halves on top of the other and use a rolling pin to roll it together into one mass. Repeat this process 4-5 more times before patting it into one final rectangle. (This is a process of layering so that the biscuits will bake flaky.) (I formed a 9×7-inch rectangle, about 2-inches thick.)
Tightly wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
Preheat oven to 425°. (I set my oven to convection.) Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a shallow pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven.
Sprinkle your work surface with flour and unwrap the biscuit dough out onto it.
Using a bench scraper (or very sharp knife), trim the edges of the rectangle. (I trimmed it to form a 6×8-inch rectangle.)
Using a biscuit cutter or a knife, cut the dough into rounds or squares about 2″ each. You can recut the leftover dough into new biscuits, just try not to handle it too much. (I cut my dough into 12 2-inch squares and reformed the trimmed edges into 2 additional 2-inch squares.)
Place the cut biscuits on the parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheet, placing them close to each other (it will help them rise higher).
Place the tray into the freezer for about 15 minutes.
Spray the top of the biscuits with cooking spray.
Bake until golden brown, 15 to 22 minutes, covering them with foil if they brown too quickly. (I baked mine for 22 minutes total, covering them with foil after 20 minutes.)
To Make the Fried Chicken Thighs:
Line a rimmed baking sheet with wax paper, foil, or plastic wrap on the bottom; place a wire rack on top.
Line a second rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels; place a wire rack on top.
Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, cayenne, spice mix, salt, and black pepper in a bowl.
Pour buttermilk into a separate bowl.
Working with one piece at a time, toss chicken in flour mixture, dip in buttermilk, then toss again in flour mixture. Transfer to the wire rack over the wax paper/foil/plastic wrap-lined baking sheet to allow batter to set, about 2-3 minutes.
Repeat dipping process until all of the chicken is double-coated.
Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil to 350 degrees. (I used a large stainless steel Dutch oven fitted with a thermometer. I found it much easier to control the temperature of the oil in this pot versus using a cast iron skillet as I have in the past.)
Working in batches of no more than 3 or 4 pieces at a time, use tongs to place the chicken in the hot oil. Using a slotted spoon, turn it occasionally and cook until each piece is golden brown on both sides, about 2-4 minutes per side. (I tried to cook pieces similar in size at the same time.)
Using a slotted spoon or clean tongs, remove chicken to the wire rack over the paper towel-lined sheet pan. At this point, use an instant read thermometer to confirm that the chicken is cooked, having an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
To assemble: Split a biscuit in half (it will have a natural breaking point) and assemble the sandwich with chicken topped with pickles, as desired. Serve with hot sauce to pass at the table, as desired.
Much to my husband’s displeasure, another birthday tradition is to document the many seasonal feathered visitors who arrive to celebrate with us. Like clockwork, the night heron arrived on his birthday morning while I was making pancakes. 🙂
This is another lovely seasonal side dish. I received a lot of butternut squash in my CSA share this season and kept looking for new ways to enjoy it. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories by David Lebovitz. I modified the proportions. It would be a great side to serve as part of a Thanksgiving feast.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish
For the Squash Filling:
1 T unsalted or salted butter
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into 3/4-inch (2 cm) cubes
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup peeled and thinly sliced shallots (I used 1 large shallot)
1/2 cup (125 ml) chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 T finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
For the Topping:
1/4 cup plus 2 T (52.5g) fresh or dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup (35g) stone-ground cornmeal or polenta
1/4 cup (22.5g/.75oz) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 T minced fresh sage leaves
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt or Kosher salt
2 T (1oz/27.5g) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1 large egg
Preheat the oven to 375˚F (190˚C), preferably on convection.
Generously butter a shallow 1 1/2 to 2 quart baking dish with softened butter. (I used a round ceramic baking dish.)
Make the Filling:
Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the squash and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the squash pieces begin to brown on several sides.
Add the shallots and cook for another few minutes, until they’re softened.
Add the stock and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring, to reduce the stock a bit and heat everything through.
Scrape the squash mixture into the prepared baking dish; stir in the parsley. Press the mixture into a relatively even layer.
Cover the dish snugly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, until the squash is pretty soft when poked with a paring knife or fork.
Make the Topping:
While the squash is baking, combine the bread crumbs, cornmeal, Parmesan, sage, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. (Alternatively, the topping can be made by hand in a large bowl, using a pastry blender.)
Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is completely incorporated.
Add the egg and pulse a few more times until the mixture just starts clumping together in bits.
To Finish the Dish:
Remove the squash from the oven, remove the foil, and cover with the topping.
Decrease the oven temperature to 350˚F (180˚C) ad return the dish to the oven.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown, and serve.
As a big fan of English muffins, I tried a few sourdough versions before finally finding this successful one. It was worth it!
This recipe is from Emilie Raffa’s book, Artisan Dough Made Simple, via thelemonapron.com. I may need this book. 🙂 I cooked the muffins in a large cast iron skillet but may try to expedite the process by using a griddle next time. They were equally delicious with mustard egg and cheese as with butter and jam.
Yield: 12 to 14 muffins
245grams (1 cup plus 1 tsp) milk, whole or 2%
120grams(1/2 cup) water
56grams(4 tbsp) unsalted butter,cubed
75grams(heaped 1/2 cup) bubbly active starter
24grams (2 tbsp) granulated sugar
500grams(4 cups plus 2 tbsp) all purpose flour
9grams(1 1/2 tsp) salt
Cornmeal or semolina flour, for dusting
To Make the Dough:
In a small saucepan, warm the milk, water and butter together over low heat, or in the microwave. Cool slightly before adding to the dough.
Add the starter and sugar to a large bowl. Slowly pour in the warm milk mixture, while whisking to combine.
Add the flour and salt. Mix with a fork to form a rough dough, then finish by hand to fully incorporate the flour. Cover with a damp towel and let rest 30 minutes. Meanwhile replenish your starter and store according to preference.
After the dough has rested, work the mass into a semi-smooth ball, about 15-20 seconds. (I did this on a lightly floured piece of plastic wrap.)
Place dough in a lightly greased bowl.
Cover the bowl with the damp towel and let rise until double is size, about 8-10 hours at 70 degrees F. (21C) (I let the dough rise for about 5 hours in a proofing oven.)
Once fully risen, cover the dough in lightly oiled plastic wrap and chill in fridge overnight.
In the morning, remove the cold dough from the fridge onto a floured surface. Let it rest 10 minutes.
Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and sprinkle a generous amount of cornmeal all over them. This will prevent the dough from sticking.
With floured hands, pat the dough into a rectangle or oval, about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick.
Cut rounds about 3 inches in diameter (you can use the rim of a drinking glass: use a rim that isn’t too thick) You should get 10-12 rounds. (I used a Bonne Maman jam jar.)
Place them onto the cornmeal on the baking sheets. Sprinkle tops with more cornmeal.
For the Second Rise:
Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rest till puffy, about 1 hour depending on the temperature of your kitchen. (I used a proofing oven.)
To Cook the Muffins:
Warm a large cast iron or non-stick skillet (you can also use a cast iron griddle) over low to medium-low heat.
Place a few rounds of dough into the pan to fit comfortably. Don’t worry, they really won’t spread.
Cook on one side for about 8 to 10 minutes, checking at the halfway mark for even browning. Adjust the heat if necessary. Flip the muffins over and continue to cook for an additional 8-10 minutes. When ready, the muffins should feel lightweight and the sides should spring back when pressed gently.
Transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool. Continue cooking the remaining rounds.
When ready to eat, split them open using a fork piercing into the equator of each all the way around and gently prying open.
Muffins will stay fresh 2 days, stored in an airtight container or plastic bag at room temperature.
The tip to cooking English muffins is to find balanced heat. If the flame is too high, the outside will brown too quickly leaving the center undercooked. If you find this has happened, finish baking the muffins in a low heat oven (about 250F) until cooked through.
You can avoid this by doing a test run with one or two muffins to begin with to help guide your stove top heat.
You can make the dough Friday morning before you leave the house for the day, put it in the fridge at the end of the day, and then bake them on Saturday morning for a great treat.
I am going to share a couple more breakfast recipes that use sourdough starter. I was in LOVE with these muffins! They are sweetened with pure maple syrup, are loaded with blueberries, and incorporate cornmeal. Delicious.
This recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour. I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour, and added vanilla extract. Wholesome and tasty!
Yield: 12 muffins
Preheat the oven to 425°F, preferably on convection.
Grease the wells of a 12-cup muffin pan, or line with papers and grease the inside of the papers. (I used cooking oil spray.)
Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
In a second bowl, beat together the starter, milk, egg, melted butter, sweetener, and vanilla.
Blend the wet ingredients with the dry, taking about 20 seconds.
Gently stir in the blueberries just until blended.
Fill the cups of the prepared pan two-thirds full; sprinkle the tops of the muffins with sugar.
Bake the muffins for 17 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the pan. Don’t let them cool in the pan, or they’ll steam and the outside will become tough.
Note: If using frozen berries, don’t thaw them before adding to the batter; you’ll have fewer blue streaks if they’re added frozen, just before scooping.