April 28, 2007

Custard-Topped Spoon Bread

This recipe is from the 1997 edition of the Joy of Cooking.

Although it's called "custard-topped," when I make it the custard always ends up in the middle. In fact, when I made it just now, it seems that the whole wheat floated to the top (making a chocolate brown colored layer), the middle was a layer of custard, and the corn flour stayed at the bottom making a yellowish, light layer.

OK, from here on out is from the Joy of Cooking:

In the oven, this quick and easy batter is transformed, as if by magic, into moist corn bread topped with a layer of golden-crusted creamy custard that takes our breath away. Serve it with bacon or sausage for breakfast, or even all alone -- but try this luxurious dish at least once with pure maple syrup.

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F). Place an ungreased 8 x 8 inch baking dish in the oven to heat.

(see below)

Whisk together thoroughly:
1 cup all-purpose flour [I used freshly ground hard red wheat.]
3/4 cup cornmeal [I used freshly ground corn -- It came out rather floury.]
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Whisk together in a large bowl:
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons warm melted unsalted butter [Like it could be cold melted?!!]
2 tablespoons sugar [I used sucanut.]
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until the batter is smooth and free of lumps. Add to the heated baking dish and tilt to coat the bottom:
2 teaspoons butter, softened or melted

Scrape the batter into the baking dish and spread evenly. Set the dish on the oven rack. Pour over the batter slowly, without stirring:
1 cup heavy cream

Bake until the custard layer on top is puffed and golden brown but still quivery and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. [My knife didn't come out clean but it was because the custard clung to it. So I just cooked it until it was set.] Remove from the oven and let stand for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot or warm.