This easy skillet cornbread is all about the season with the addition of pumpkin purée, which adds moisture and a lovely texture. If you want to roast a small pumpkin and make your own purée, even better, but canned purée works great — just make sure to avoid pumpkin pie filling, which has all sorts of spices already added and masks some of the corn and pumpkin flavors. This version allows for some sweetness with the addition of maple syrup. If you prefer a more savory option, omit the sugar and add black pepper and/or a diced jalapeño. Serve as a side to the holiday feast or make ahead of time and allow to dry out for a day and use as a base for your favorite holiday stuffing/dressing. — Kim Sunée
Skillet brown butter pumpkin cornbread
Makes 8 to 10 servings
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
1 cup buttermilk, shaken, or whole or 2% milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup or liquid honey (optional)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups stone ground (medium) yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Optional: 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeño and freshly ground black pepper; or, to bring out more pumpkin flavor, add pinch of ground cinnamon and nutmeg
Flake salt, for garnish
• Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Add butter to a 9-inch cast-iron skillet set over medium-high heat and, swirling pan every so often, allow butter to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes; keep an eye on butter so it doesn’t burn. Remove from heat as soon as butter starts to brown and smell nutty. Alternatively, brown butter in a saucepan and pour into an oven-proof 2-quart-capacity baking dish.
• Whisk together purée, buttermilk, honey and eggs in a large bowl. Place cornmeal in a medium bowl and stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined; be careful not to overmix.
• Pour brown butter from skillet into mixture; stir quickly into batter. Scrape batter into hot skillet (or baking dish) and place in oven. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, checking after 28 minutes. A tester (sharp knife point or toothpick) inserted in center should come out mostly clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pan 15 minutes before cutting. Top with flake salt, if desired, and butter. Can be made one to two days ahead; cool and wrap well; reheat gently when ready to serve or crumble and use for your favorite dressing/stuffing.