I decided to adapt this recipe to be baked in a cast iron skillet because the fine people of Finex (forged right here in Portland!) gifted me with one of their gorgeous skillets. I mean, look at that iron-beauty down there! I especially love that the cooking surface of the pan is smooth, instead of rough like most cast iron skillets, and the octagonal sides make for easy pouring. Anyway, it’s perfect for this recipe because we start by browning butter–always a good idea–and the butter that coats the pan after pouring it out for the batter acts to make the surface even more non-stick. Plus, the pan stays hot, since we all know cast iron holds heat like a dream, creating a little sizzle when the batter hits the pan making for a nice golden-brown crust on this cornbread. Obviously, you can use any trusty cast iron skillet you have for this recipe and it will be just as delicious.
The pumpkin in the cornbread makes it so moist, with extra tenderness from the addition of buttermilk. In addition to the brown butter flavor punch, we have lots of leeks, sliced super thinly, throughout the batter and on top. Along with pecans for a sweet and nutty bite. The leeks on top get crisp and sweet and so perfect. I’m sort of obsessed with them (I’ve been using them as a pizza topping lately, too…so killer!). But, the thing that really makes this cornbread sing is the spicy honey drizzle. It’s a sweetly spiced, sticky counterpart to the earthy-sweet and savory cornbread…and it’s SO simple!! It’s just honey and tabasco. Done.
Anyway, I urge you to make this cornbread sooner than later. Don’t wait a whole dang year like I did. And, I have to say it, it’d be a great addition to a Thanksgiving spread. Hint, hint.
Pumpkin, Leek, & Pecan Cornbread with Spicy Honey
Makes 8-12 servings
Adapted from Take A Megabite
Leeks can be super gritty, so I like to clean them by slicing them and swishing around in a large bowl of cold water. Then I scoop them out and pat them dry on a clean tea towel.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces) brown butter
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 large leek, sliced thinly into rounds and rinsed well
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet until it gets foamy, once it begins to foam, continue to cook the butter, stirring until the solid bits in the butter turn deep brown and smell fragrant like toffee (if you aren’t using a cast iron skillet, refer to Megan’s recipe for alternate instructions). Pour the butter into a dish and set aside to cool to room temperature.
In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar. In another bowl whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, pumpkin puree, and cooled brown butter. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the cornmeal mixture and fold until just combined, then fold in half of the leeks. Scrape the batter into the cast iron pan and sprinkle the top with the remaining leeks, as well as the pecans. Bake in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool at least 10 minutes before serving with the spicy honey.
To make the spicy honey, stir together both of the ingredients until combine.
Full disclosure, Finex sent me one of their skillet to use. I was not compensated for this post, I just really like this skillet! As always, all opinions and words are my own.