Why It Works
- This variation of cornbread will get you out of your Thanksgiving food rut.
- Pumpkin adds moisture without making the cornbread too cakey.
- The natural sugar in the pumpkin imparts just the right amount of sweetness that won't detract from its savoriness as a side dish.
Some days, I feel like Thanksgiving is already over. I've been reading Thanksgiving preparation tips and recipes for months. All around me, I see the holiday lights go up and the Christmas ads play on T.V. I often have to stop and remind myself that I haven't actually eaten the turkey yet.
If, like me, you're in need of a bit of the Thanksgiving spirit, I offer a two-pronged remedy. First, find A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on Netflix and watch it. Second, find a cast iron skillet and make some cornbread. There's something about mixing up this easy bread and baking it in a heavy, seasoned iron pan that feels very Americana and pioneer and Laura Ingalls Wilder all rolled into one. Crack open a hard apple cider while you're baking and you'll be in the spirit in no time.
Maybe your problem is another that I've had before—you're stuck in a Thanksgiving food rut. You've considered deviating from the tried and true menu, but you know someone will complain when their favorite dish is missing, or you'll get excommunicated from the family if the new dessert you tried comes out badly. I say, change things up with the bread. It's probably not anyone's favorite dish and this version, spiced up with pumpkin, is extremely easy to make.
It turns out that pumpkin plays very nicely with cornbread. It adds moisture—so this isn't for you if you like your cornbread crumbly and dry—without making it cakey. The texture is still grainy, just a little more plump and dense. The pumpkin also imparts some squashy sweetness. Though take note the sugar is still restrained, so this isn't dessert-level sweet and could easily be paired with the main course. Of course, sneaking a slice and toasting it, then adding a little jam, would make it the perfect light Thanksgiving-morning breakfast.
1 1/4 cups cornmeal
1 cup (about 5 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup (about 1 3/4 ounces) sugar
1 cup pumpkin purée
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Adjust oven rack to middle position, and preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and milk until combined. Stir in dry ingredients.
Place butter in skillet and place in preheated oven for 2 minutes, or until butter is melted. Take skillet out of oven and pour in batter, smoothing top. Bake until top is golden and cracked and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool before cutting.
Whisk, 9-inch cast iron skillet
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 4g||5%|
|Saturated Fat 2g||8%|
|Total Carbohydrate 39g||14%|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||10%|
|Total Sugars 9g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||6%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|