My youngest sister and I always joke that my dad, the family cook, only makes food in mega mode. Curry chicken, for example, has like, 20 chicken thighs in it, even if there’s only four people eating dinner. Potato salad comes in a giant stockpot enough to feed an army of 20; he made one of them for the kid’s table at my cousin’s wedding, even though most of the kids didn’t even eat solid food yet. My dad’s pancakes are bigger than your face. I think it comes from feeding and cooking for a family of five when both he and my mom worked full-time our whole childhood. Make a lot, and there’s leftovers for a later date.
Chuckle as I may, I kind of have mega-itis, too. It gets really bad around the holidays. This year I made three — yes, three — 9×13 pans of cornbread. Three pans of cornbread to make stuffing that only calls for half a pan. I figured people might want to snack on cornbread, too. But three pans — well, it’s overkill. So I froze a bunch of it, and we’ve been eating it gradually since November with chili night, or when Ge Ge gets homesick for Charleston (which, thankfully, is less and less these days).
Then I discovered another easy way to rid ourselves of the cornbread burden I’ve created: cornbread “bread” pudding. Oh, Molly. It is something.
Regular bread pudding is heavy, laden with creme anglaise and rich as all get-out. I love a good bread pudding, especially as a winter dessert. But with cornbread as the base, this pudding dessert is spongier yet somehow denser. The sweetness comes from the cornbread itself, not just from the added brown sugar. Weirdly, it doesn’t feel as rich and pairs well with berries and cream as opposed to raisins or apples.
Plus, this recipe is easy enough that it can be a weekday dessert dish. Pop it in the oven while everyone’s eating, and pull it out right as everyone is finishing up. It’s best served piping hot with fresh whipped cream melting all over the place. Of course, if you’ve got leftovers to spare, you might have to freeze a little for a later date. You can pull it out, crumble it, and then make THAT into a cornbread bread pudding bread pudding.
Whoa. I think my brain just exploded.
- 5 cups day-old cornbread, crumbled
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups milk
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup cold heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- strawberries and blueberries (for serving)
- Preheat to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x9 square pan with nonstick cooking spray or grease with butter.
- Put cornbread to a large bowl and set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together vanilla, cinnamon, brown sugar, eggs and milk. Pour over cornbread and stir to combine.
- Pour cornbread mixture into greased pan and bake for approximately 20 minutes, until top is golden-brown.
- While cornbread pudding is baking, beat cold heavy cream and powdered sugar together in a large metal mixing bowl with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
- Slice and wash strawberries and combine with blueberries.
- When cornbread pudding is fully baked and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, remove from oven and slice into thick slices. Top with whipped cream and berries and serve immediately.
Inspired by this Food.com recipe