Tuesday, September 11, 2012


serves eight 

For the cornbread:  
4 oz. (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened; more for the baking dish  
9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the baking dish  
3 oz. (1/2 cup) fine yellow cornmeal  
2 teaspoons baking powder  
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream

For the bacon syrup:
6 slices thick-cut bacon, preferably applewood-smoked
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup honey

For serving:
8 sugar-roasted peach halves, warmed (recipe below)
Vanilla gelato or ice cream
Minced fresh sage, for garnish
Aleppo pepper flakes, for garnish (optional)

For the sugar-roasted peach halves:
2 slices thick-cut bacon
4 ripe semi-firm medium peaches (about 8 oz. each), halved and pitted
2 teaspoons raw sugar, such as demerara or turbinado
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large sprigs fresh summer or winter savory, thyme, or rosemary

For the sugar-roasted peach halves: Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. Cook the bacon in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, flipping occasionally, until crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Pour the bacon fat from the skillet into a small heatproof bowl, leaving a slick of fat in the skillet; you’ll need 4 tsp. reserved fat. (If you don’t have enough, make up the difference with extra-virgin olive oil.) Raise the heat under the skillet to medium high.  Sprinkle the cut sides of the peaches evenly with the sugar and a tiny pinch each of salt  and pepper. Arrange the peaches in the skillet cut side down and tuck the herbs around them. Tear the bacon slices in quarters and tuck the pieces around the peaches. Drizzle 2 tsp. of the reserved bacon fat evenly over the peaches and let them cook undisturbed until the cut sides begin to brown, about 5 minutes.  Sprinkle the uncut sides of the peaches with a tiny pinch of salt, then transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the peaches are just tender, about 10 minutes.  Flip the peaches, drizzle with 2 tsp. more of the reserved bacon fat, and continue to roast until they’re tender but not falling apart, about 5 minutes more. Enjoy the bacon as a cook’s treat, or save it for another use; discard the herbs. Let the peaches cool slightly before serving.  
Make the cornbread: Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand-held electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Adjust the mixer speed to low and add the cream, milk, and sour cream; mix until combined. The batter may look curdled at this point. Add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined and scraping down the sides as needed. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, smooth the top, and firmly tap the dish on the counter to break any air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let the cornbread cool in its dish on a rack until warm.  
Make the bacon syrup: In a 12-inch skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, flipping occasionally, until crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain and then coarsely chop. Pour off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat from the skillet. Add the maple syrup and honey to the skillet and heat over medium heat, stirring to combine. Return the bacon to the skillet and stir to combine and heat through, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and let the syrup cool to warm.  
Serve: Cut eight 2-inch cubes from the cornbread (you’ll have leftover cornbread). If made ahead, warm the cubes in a 250°F oven for 10 minutes, or lightly toast them in a toaster oven. Put a cube of cornbread on each of 8 plates. Arrange the peaches and scoops of gelato near the cornbread. Top with the bacon syrup, sage, and a tiny pinch of Aleppo pepper, if using.
bacon recipe courtesy of: Bill Taibe, Fine Cooking, Number 118, July, 2012, pp. 84-85 

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