A few months ago, I received an early copy of The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen (which is reviewed here). The Lee Bros. are big fans of our cornmeal and wanted to share their latest book with us. I was delighted with the wonderful Southern recipes from Matt and Ted Lee (there was more than a little bit of oooh-ing and awww-ing at our office) and I was doubly excited when Matt and Ted offered to write us a guest post and share their recipe for Pineapple Cornbread Pudding.
In the South, cornbread is our daily bread, and it’s not typically a sweet affair. Ask any southern grandmother: you’ve added a tablespoon of sugar to your cornbread batter? That’s called cake!
In this recipe, however, we embrace the sweeter side of cornbread and its awesome potential in the dessert realm. We take gently sweetened cornbread, dice it up into cubes, and make it the foundation for a fun spin on that classic vanilla-custard bread pudding. We also incorporate pineapple, a fruit that was common in the markets of our hometown, Charleston, SC, in the 19th century, but curiously rarely ever found its way into the regional cookbooks from that period.
We love this recipe for the way the vanilla custard ties together the syrupy, gently tart pineapple with the heartier flavors of the cornbread. Using stone ground cornmeal in this recipe is essential; its more intense, naturally sweet corn flavor makes Pineapple Cornbread Pudding truly soar!
Pineapple Cornbread Pudding
Serves: 6 | Time: 1 hour
- Skillet Cornbread (recipe follows), cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
- 2 cups small-dice fresh Pineapple Chunks
- 1 ½ cups Heavy Cream
- 1/3 cup Whole Milk
- 6 Tbsp plus 1 tsp Sugar
- 3 large Eggs
- 1 large Egg Yolk
- 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- ½ tsp plus a pinch of Kosher Salt
- 1 Tbsp Dark Rum
1. Set a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In a 2-quart baking dish, arrange 1 ½ cups of the cornbread cubes, spacing the pieces evenly apart. Spread 1 cup of the pineapple into the dish, spreading evenly in the spaces between the cubes. Add another 1 ½ cups of the cornbread cubes spaced evenly apart, followed by a second layer of the pineapple. (Reserve leftover cornbread for another use.)
3. Pour 1 cup of the cream and the milk into a large bowl, add 6 tablespoons of the sugar, and stir to dissolve, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, egg yolk, vanilla, and ½ teaspoon of the salt, and whisk to combine thoroughly. Pour the egg mixture slowly into the pan around its edge, and gently agitate the dish to distribute the custard evenly. Transfer to the oven, and bake on the top rack until the bread cubes on top are gently browned in places and the pudding parts in the center have gelled, about 40 minutes.
4. In a large bowl, whip the remaining ½ cup cream with the rum, the remaining teaspoon sugar, and the remaining pinch of salt, until the cream is stiff and holds its shape. Reserve in the refrigerator.
5. Let the bread pudding cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with dollops of the rum whipped cream.
Serves: 6 | Time: 30 minutes
- 1 Tbsp Lard or Unsalted Butter
- ¾ cup Cornmeal
- ¾ cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- ½ tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 large Egg
- 1 ½ cups Buttermilk, preferably whole
- 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease a 12-inch cast-iron skillet with the lard, leaving any excess in the pan, and place it in the oven.
2. In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg until frothy, and then whisk in the buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix thoroughly. Melt the butter in a small skillet over low heat, and then whisk the butter into the batter.
3. When the fat in the skillet is smoking, carefully remove the skillet from the oven and swirl the fat around to coat the bottom and sides evenly. Pour the batter into the skillet; it should sizzle alluringly. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the top of the bread is golden brown and the edge has pulled away from the side of the skillet. Remove the skillet from the oven. Invert the cornbread onto a board, to cut and serve immediately with butter, or invert onto a rack to cool completely.