It's hard to get any work done on these lazy summer days. What's occupying your time is driving through a small coastal town on a warm afternoon with one of your favourite people (who, just the night before, surprised you with their presence at your family beach fire), and you pull over because you see a sign for u-pick organic raspberries. You spend half an hour or so filling a bucket while you catch up on many months of gossip. While the two of you talk to each other almost every day, you practically never get to do it In Person. This? This is so much better.
Then, the hardest part of the rest of your day is figuring out what to do with the bucket of precariously ripe red berries you brought home nestled on your lap. The answer is pretty obvious; raspberry cornbread.
Because you picked way more raspberries than you can deal with, and because you're a trooper, you also let your friend make some raspberry gin mojitos to go with your afternoon. It's just not conducive to getting work done; it's the hard knock life.
This raspberry cornbread is part breakfast treat and part afternoon tea; honey sweetened and kissed with a bit of whole wheat flour, but not so much it takes over the buttery cornbread flavour. Raspberries are carefully, so carefully, folded in, and then it all gets baked up in a buttered cast iron skillet. Mmmmm.
One year ago: It seems I was lazing on vacation one year ago. Such is life.
Two years ago: Trant Road Blackberries, Two Ways
Raspberry Cornbread Recipe:
I baked my cornbread in a well-buttered 12" cast iron skillet. If you don't have such a pan you could instead use a 12" round or square baking pan, or an 8 x 11" rectangular baking pan. The raspberries are best fresh, and handled as gently as you can.
Recipe adapted, quite heavily, from Rachel Ray
1 ½ cups cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
3 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
½ cup plain yoghurt
¾ cup milk
½ cup honey
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups fresh raspberries
Preaheat your oven to 190 C / 375 F. Butter a cast iron skillet (or other baking pan, see headnotes) generously.
In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Melt the butter over medium heat, and, if your honey is not already quite liquidy, add the honey to the butter melting pot as well. Whisk all other wet ingredients together in a medium bowl, and then add the melted honey and butter. Pour the wet mix into the dry, and using a spatula fold the mixture together until it is just barely mixed. Carefully fold in the raspberries, then pour the batter into the prepared skillet.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is golden and an inserted knife comes out clean. For a little extra brownness and crunch I sprinkled a bit of raw sugar under the top and gave a super quick blast under the broiler.
This raspberry cornbread has some good stuff in it, like fresh local raspberries, which are jammed full of antioxidants, especially when picked at the peak of ripeness. The antioxidant and anti inflammatory phytonutrients in raspberries have been merited with having cancer fighting properties. Raspberries are also good sources of fiber, manganese, vitamin C, magnesium, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, copper, vitamin E, and potassium. Honey is a beautiful natural sweetener which has antioxidant and antifungal properties. Did you know honey has been used as athletic fuel and as a healing agent for thousands of years? Be mindful of a couple of things: first, your honey is only as good as the plants providing the pollen. Don’t skimp on honey, buy the good quality locally produced stuff. Second, calories are still calories. Honey is a great alternative to sugar, but it is a sweetener no less. We need to moderate. Yoghurt is a fabulous way to add moisture to your baked goods and can very often replace much of the fat. Yoghurt is a great source of calcium, vitamin B12, and protein, to name a few. The live bacterial culture is very beneficial for digestive health, however, the heat of baking will destroy that benefit in this case. Cornmeal is a good source of niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folate and vitamins B-6, E and K, and minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. Look for whole grain cornmeal which has not been de-germed; degerming strips the grain of important nutrients.
This cornbread is full of good stuff for sure, but let's also remember to moderate. There is a fair amount of all purpose flour, butter, and sugar (from the honey) in this recipe. This is the kind of think I like to enjoy for a weekend brunch treat, or a nice thin slice with my afternoon tea.
Do ahead: Baked cornbread will last for a couple of days at room temperature, stored in an airtight container. Too many and the raspberries will start to mould and you will be so, so sad. Cornbread wrapped tightly in plastic will last 5 days in the fridge, and about a month in the freezer.
All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2012