Monday, August 24, 2009

by request: Le Pigeon's bacon-apricot cornbread

I'm always more than happy to oblige treat requests, so when a good friend asked for a Bacon-Apricot cornbread, I grabbed some yellow cornmeal at the grocery and jumped onto the James Beard Foundation website for some recipe guidance.

They call it a "breakfast-inspired" dessert (it's meant to be served with maple ice cream -- YUM!), but I could have eaten this sweet and savory cornbread at any point in the day. It would be delightful with chicken-apple sausage in the morning, or as a side to pork chops for dinner. My mouth is watering already.

To avoid a dry result, follow the direction on how to cook the bacon, and make sure to add the bacon drippings into the batter. To stay on the lighter side, I skipped this step but my cornbread would have been tastier with the extra fat (and though the reviews were good, those who'd dined at Le Pigeon in the past noted that my version was slightly less "bacon-y" than the original). We drizzled with maple syrup and served with a side of my new absolute favorite ice cream: Haagen-Dazs Fleur De Sel Caramel (mind-blowing).

P.S. I updated the comments section, so it should work now for everyone! And special thanks to Emily W. for capturing a shot of the finished product at the party!

Bacon-Apricot Cornbread
Le Pigeon, Portland OR

2 tbsp. butter
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup diced bacon
1 1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup whole milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
3 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. molasses

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease an 8x8-inch baking pan with one tablespoon of the butter. Coat with 2 tbsp. flour and set aside.

Heat remaining butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until bacon is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Combine the remaining 1 cup of flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add buttermilk, milk, and eggs. Stir until just combined.

Combine apricots, honey, molasses, and cooked bacon with about a tbsp. of the bacon drippings and stir to combine. Add to cornmeal mixture and pour into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Note: It took me almost 45 minutes in the oven for my toothpick to come out clean.

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