I am an avid watcher of Food Network, and my physique has unfortunately suffered the consequences. I would like to point out that I am in shape...round is a shape. I am also very adventurous when it comes to food.
A few weeks ago I saw an episode of one of my favorite shows, Good Eats, that dealt with cornmeal. Growing up in Texas I have seen this stuff put to good use, and I have, unfortunately also seen many culinary tragedies come from it. Undaunted though, I keep on trying. Last night was one such foray into the unkown. I am happy to report that this one was a win.
Pineapple Upside-Down Cornmeal Cake
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2004
3/4 cup whole milk
1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
4 ounces unsalted butter
8 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1 cup
6 slices canned pineapple in heavy syrup
6 maraschino cherries
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
3 tablespoons juice from canned pineapple
3 whole eggs
4 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 1 cup
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 3/4 ounces sugar, approximately 3/4 cup
1/2 cup canola oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a microwave-proof dish, bring the milk to a boil. Remove the milk from the microwave and add the cornmeal. Stir and let soak at room temperature for 30 minutes. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the brown sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and carefully place 1 slice of pineapple in the center of the pan. Place the other 5 slices around the center slice in a circle. Place the cherries in the centers of the pineapple slices and sprinkle the nuts evenly over the fruit. Drizzle pineapple juice over top.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the sugar to the eggs and whisk to combine. Add the canola oil and whisk. Add the cornmeal and milk mixture to the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Add this to the flour and stir just until combined.
Pour the batter over the fruit in the skillet and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes in the skillet. Set a platter on top of the skillet and carefully invert the cake. Serve.
Easy Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 1 (10-inch) cake