Fresh fig cornbread
Serves: one 9-inch round bread
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, barely softened and cut into chunks, plus more for greasing the pan
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups milk or buttermilk (buttermilk is preferable, in my opinion!)
  • 8 oz. fresh figs, stemmed and halved
  1. Heat your oven to 375F. Grease a deep 9 or 10-inch cast iron skillet or another heavy baking pan with butter.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the cornmeal.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and soda, and salt. Mixing on low speed, add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk, and starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
  5. Scrape the batter into the greased pan, then arrange the halved figs on top. Bake until the cornbread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40-50 minutes.
  6. Serve warm, with spoonfuls of ricotta, if desired. The cornbread keeps, tightly covered, for several days. Just lightly toast slices in a toaster oven before serving and you’re good to go.
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