Round Thirteen — Crusty Soft-Center Spoon Bread
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If ever there was a tasty bread baked for instant gratification, this is it. I was having one of those “Good Lord I reeeeeeeally don’t even want to lift a finger today” kind of days, but my internal deadline was nagging at me about how “it’s been almost two weeks and your next post is due, and I don’t care that you were on vacation in the Bahamas because what kind of an excuse is that, anyway?” This is true, being away from the kitchen because I was too busy sipping Bahama Mamas from a coconut monkey head while lying on a boat deck trying desperately to change my skin color to anything darker than the vampiric translucence it was is not much of an excuse for a belated bread post, but nevertheless, I haven’t had much time.
I found this bread in Joy under the “Corn Breads” section, and I was feeling mildly southern that day (I don’t know, maybe it was my subconscious wishing to be back in warmer climates) so my hankering + laziness led me to this spoon bread recipe. Heck, I didn’t even know what a spoon bread was, and I’m still not completely sure (the closest I got to an explanation was “corn souffle“), but it sounded like something warm and slightly gooey and cornmeal-y, and if it requires nothing more than a spoon and a mouth, I’m in.
Truth is, it wasn’t much more than a slightly softer version of regular corn bread, but the golden brown, crusty edges in combination with the melt-in-your-mouth buttery center was like eating one of those baked mac n’ cheeses where you crack off the burnt cheese on the end of the casserole dish and douse it in warm, melty cheese noodles and… egads, it’s good. And very, very easy to make, too. Perfect for a day when you’d rather be back on a tropical island drinking cocktails at noon, but instead you’ve got bread to bake.
Debrief: I’m very aware that this is barely passes for a traditional bread, but if it has the word “bread” in it, I say it mildly counts. Next time I make this, I may disperse the batter in ramekins and bake it for less time so it more truthfully becomes a “corn souffle.”
Crusty Soft-Center Spoon Bread
courtesy of The Joy of Cooking
Makes 4 servings (which is a mighty-fine heapin’ helping, I’d say. I served mine to 8 with no complaints.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp double-acting baking powder
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
Stir in until well blended:
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk
Melt in a high-rimmed 8 x 8-inch baking dish:
2 tbsp butter
Pour in the batter. Pour over the top:
1/2 cup milk
Bake 45 minutes or more, until good and crusty. (My overzealous oven completed its task in 38 minutes.)