The Moistest, Corniest Cornbread (Dairy Free, Gluten Free)

I made this cornbread as part of a meal inspired by Ramona Quimby, Age 8. In that book, Ramona (also known as Ramona the Pest) has to make dinner with her sister as punishment for complaining about their mother’s cooking. Ramona is specifically instructed to make cornbread because she complained her mom didn’t make it.

Ramona improvises very creatively, substituting banana yogurt for the buttermilk and cream of wheat for part of the cornmeal. The cornbread comes out okay anyway, if a little pale and flat.

My son wanted to replicate the meal, so we did (but kosherizing it, of course). The whole menu? Chili chicken with peas, carrot sticks, rice, cornbread and canned pears with apricot jam (for dessert).

This cornbread is especially moist, partly because the recipe calls for adding boiling water to part of the cornmeal, partly because I added triple the oil the recipe called for by (happy) accident.

Pam Anderson’s Southern Style Cornbread
Adapted from Pam Anderson’s The Perfect Recipe (also in Food and Wine Magazine, but the recipe there is doubled).

Combine in a mixing bowl to make cornmeal mush:
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup boiling water

Add to the cornmeal mixture:
3/4 cup soy milk plus a capful (1 tsp.) rice vinegar (to replace buttermilk)
1 egg
4 tsp. oil (oops, I used 4 Tbl. olive oil, which is probably why my cornbread was so especially moist)

In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients:
1 teaspoons sugar
1teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the cornmeal mush/egg/soy milk/oil. Pour the batter into a greased 8″ square pan (it is supposed to be a preheated pan, but I didn’t bother). Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes (I baked at 400 degrees and it was fine, but the hotter temperature makes a darker crust)


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13 Responses to “The Moistest, Corniest Cornbread (Dairy Free, Gluten Free)”

  1. Princess Lea Says:

    I just watched an episode of “Good Eats” where Alton Brown makes polenta=grits=cornmeal, so I have been obsessing over it the last few days, searching for recipes. This is perfectly timed! I love the soy milk because I prefer to keep things pareve.

  2. Couldn't Be Parve Says:

    This sounds delicious, i love cornbread.

  3. Leora Says:

    I make cornbread once a year, on Thanksgiving. I find it is popular if eaten soon after being baked. Three day old cornbread is not so popular. Ramona’s use of banana yogurt sound great – cornbread does often have the complaint of being a bit too dry.

    • pragmaticattic Says:

      Yes, so true! This tastes best right out of the oven. The Food and Wine magazine suggested using this cornbread as a the basis for stuffing/dressing on Thanksgiving. So, the next time you have leftover cornbread, think about making a casserole of stuffing. And Ramona was a budding culinary genius–the idea of using farina as a replacement for some of the cornmeal (she ran a bit short) was also inspired. I suspect that Beverly Clearly based this part of the book on her own kitchen experiments.


  4. Lisa Bernstein Says:

    I love how the recipe sounds.. Noticed it says 1 tsp baking powder and then 1/4 tsp baking powder. Are they both powder or is one supposed to be soda? Thanks in advance!

  5. Mandi McBride Jensen Says:

    Did you mean 1/3 cup cornmeal? That doesn’t seem like enough.

  6. AcuDeb Says:

    Great cornbread! I used a half can of organic full fat coconut milk and then added enough water ( a couple of tablespoons) to bring it up to 3/4 of a cup. Skipped the olive oil. Very tasty!!! Thanks for this recipe.

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