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Food52's Warm Custard Spoon Bread


[Photograph: James Ransom]

In my family, we have a Christmas morning tradition of feasting on French toast casserole, bacon, and generous pours of maple syrup. Sometimes there are a few grapefruits tucked into plates, but it is mostly a sweet, decadent affair.

After making LocalSavour's Warm Custard Spoon Bread from the new Food52 Cookbook, I may make a case for changing up the main course. This spoon bread won the "Best Holiday Breakfast" contest, and with very good reason--this bread is magic. Somehow, the process of whisking together a loose cornbread batter, pouring it into a hot pan, and topping it off with a generous pour of heavy cream, yields a three layer masterpiece made of custard, cake, and cornbread. Surely there must be some baking science behind it, but I'm content to leave that to the experts. Magic spoon bread is just fine by me.

Why I picked this recipe: The words "spoon bread," "magic," and "breakfast" were just too enticing to pass up.

What worked: Sweet, savory, and creamy, this spoon bread offers just about anything you'd want in a holiday breakfast treat.

What didn't: Next time I'll melt the pan-greasing butter directly in the oven to save time and to brown the butter a little bit. Be sure to eat this dish soon after baking. The flavor remains after it grows cold, but the glorious three-tiered texture fades.

Suggested tweaks: Commenters (and the photographer) suggest baking the spoon bread in cast iron.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Food52 Cookbook, Volume 2 to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, Berkeleyside NOSH, and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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