It’s the beginning of the college football season, I’m going to my brother’s house tonight to watch the game, so I wanted to make something good. I love peaches and I love cake but sometimes cakes are too sweet. So, I thought cornbread might be nice, because it’s sweet but not too sweet. I hacked together the following recipe by combining the Serious Eats brown-butter cornbread recipe with a sort of generic upside-down cake method.
- 2 or 3 large peaches, peeled and sliced into 1/2″ slices
For the caramel:
- 1/2 C sugar
- 1/4 C water
- A little corn syrup
For the cornbread:
- 7 Tbsp unsalted butter (one stick with one tablespoon cut off)
- 1 C yellow cornmeal
- 1 C all-purpose flour
- 1/4 C sugar
- 1 t kosher salt
- 2 t baking powder
- 1/4 t baking soda
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 C sour cream
- 1/2 C buttermilk
- Trace the bottom of your 9″ cast-iron skillet onto some parchment paper and cut out a 9″ round. Set it in the skillet to make sure it’ll fit, and trim off any stray edges.
- Put the butter in the skillet and put the skillet in the oven. Preheat to 425ºF; let the butter brown. This will probably take 10 minutes.
- Put the caramel ingredients in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium or medium-high heat. Cook together until it’s amber in color, whisking occasionally. This will probably take 10 minutes, i.e., the same amount of time as the butter.
- You want just a splash of corn syrup because the fructose will help keep the caramel from crystalizing.
- If the caramel is done before the butter is ready, take it off the heat. It might set, but that’s okay, just slap it back on high heat until it loosens up.
- In separate bowls, whisk together the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients.
- Arrange the peach slices on the parchment in some kind of pretty design.
- When the butter is browned, pour off all but maybe a tablespoon into a heat-proof vessel. Put the skillet back in the oven.
- Whisking constantly, drizzle the butter into the wet ingredients, then whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
- Working quickly (so the skillet stays hot):
- Pull the skillet out of the oven and slosh the remaining butter around to coat the sides and bottom.
- Drop the parchment in the skillet. (This is tricky. I used my pizza peel.)
- Pour the caramel evenly over the peaches. (Optional: Stir in a shot of whiskey or bourbon first.)
- Pour the batter over the peaches and smooth out the top with a silicone spatula.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating once halfway through. The cornbread should be golden on top, a toothpick should come out with just a crumb or two sticking to it, and your instant-read thermometer should register around 205º.
- Let cool in the skillet for 10 minutes, then invert:
- Run a butter knife around a couple of times to help release the cornbread from the sides of the skillet.
- Put your serving plate over the top of the skillet.
- Use two pot-holders to grab the skillet and the plate with both hands. Put your fingers on top.
- Take a deep breath, hold on tight, and flip! (Be confident!)
- Whap the bottom of the skillet a couple of times for good luck, then take another deep breath and lift it off.
- Peel the parchment off the peaches.