For Chocolate Lovers only
 
 

My Mom’s Cornbread and Strawberries

Tips:
This is a down-home, not fancy, old-fashioned dish that can be used as a light supper, lunch, or a dessert. It’s a very flexible recipe, too. For starters, you can use good-quality vanilla ice cream, softened, in place of the yogurt; use frozen yogurt; or simply use a different yogurt flavor, such as lemon or banana-vanilla. You can also use raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries instead of strawberries. Once everything is assembled, this must be served immediately, and leftovers probably aren’t a good idea, although they might keep for a few hours in the fridge (the cornbread, while best when very fresh, can be made a day ahead and reheated gently in the microwave until just barely warm). You can also bake the cornbread in a 9 inch round layer pan and cut it into wedges, if you prefer.

Yield: 6 to 9 servings

Ingredients:

    Cornbread:
  • 1 egg, graded “large”
  • 1 cup milk (can be whole or skim)
  • 1/4 cup tasteless vegetable oil
  • 1-1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2-1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
    For each serving:
  • 6 to 8 medium OR large strawberries
  • Granulated sugar to taste
  • Up to 6 ounces mild plain OR vanilla yogurt
  • Chocolate syrup, preferably not too sweet

Method:

Make cornbread first. Grease the bottom of an 8 inch square pan (at least 1-1/2 inches high) with solid vegetable shortening (or, to make cleanup easier, line inside of pan with two lengths of regular weight foil, folding excess back against outer edges of pan. Grease bottom with solid vegetable shortening). Set aside. Adjust rack to center of oven; preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Break egg into small bowl. Add small amount of milk; beat well with fork to mix. Add remaining milk and oil and blend well with fork. Set aside.

Into medium bowl, sift flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend with large spoon until of an even color. All at once, add liquid ingredients. Stir just until all ingredients are combined, scraping bottom and sides of bowl with rubber spatula. Do not overmix (batter should contain some lumps). Turn into prepared pan and spread level.

Bake in preheated oven for 16 to 21 minutes. While cornbread bakes, prepare strawberries. Wash briefly and dry as many strawberries as you’ll need. Hull them and remove any soft or bruised spots. Slice the strawberries thinly (preferably vertically). Taste one or two slices to check the berries for sweetness. Place the berries in a nonaluminum bowl, sprinkle with granulated sugar to taste, and mix gently but thoroughly. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to stand at room temperature until needed (if you’re going to allow the cornbread to cool completely, then store it before you serve this, refrigerate the berries, but in any case they shouldn’t be sliced and prepared more than about four hours before you eat them).

While cornbread bakes, it will rise (usually a bit higher in the middle than at the edges) and the edges will begin to brown (there won’t be much top browning in this recipe). Insert a toothpick in the center of the cornbread; if it emerges with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it, the cornbread is done. Do not overbake. Remove to cooling rack; cool until only slightly warm or at room temperature before serving (this usually takes 45 minutes to an hour in my kitchen).

When cornbread is ready, cut into desired number of portions (I suggest a minimum of six and a maximum of nine portions from a pan of this size. For each serving, slice cornbread portion in half horizontally. Place bottom half into a bowl (a cereal bowl will work well). Spoon yogurt onto the bottom half of the cornbread, then top with the top half. Spoon the berries and some of their juice all around the cornbread. Spoon more yogurt over the top, then garnish with drizzles of chocolate syrup. Serve immediately.

If you don’t use all of the cornbread portions at one time, cool the cornbread completely, then store it airtight for up to a day or so. Briefly reheat each portion before serving just until warm (you can use the microwave to do this).


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