Vera Obias' Cheddar & Black Pepper Cornbread

By • May 13, 2014 • 24 Comments

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Author Notes: How to make even better cornbread? Treat it more like a biscuit (or scone, or pie crust). The same cold pockets of butter that make a scone crunch outside and billow through the middle do good things for cornbread too. You can bake them into miniature loaves or free-form like scones, with a shorter baking time. Adapted from Vera Obias and Du Jour Bakery in Park Slope, Brooklyn.Genius Recipes

Makes one 9x9-inch pan

  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (166g) sugar
  • 1 cup (144g) cornmeal, preferably coarse
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (6g) baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (10g) salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (150g) grated aged white cheddar
  • 8 ounces (240g) butter, cold and cubed
  • 3/4 to 1 cups buttermilk
  • Heavy cream, cracked black pepper and Maldon (or other flaky) salt for finishing
  1. Combine the first seven ingredients in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until just combined, with pea-sized chunks. Add buttermilk and pulse until dough forms. Let chill for an hour.
  2. Heat the oven to 350° F.
  3. Press dough evenly into a 9x9-inch baking pan. Brush with cream and sprinkle with Maldon sea salt and cracked black pepper. Bake until the top is golden brown and the sides start to pull away from the pan, about 25 minutes.
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Comments (24) Questions (2)

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4 months ago AJerusalemArtichoke

I don't care what it's called. This was one of the most delicious dishes I've ever made. I prepared the dough the day before and kept it in the fridge overnight. I baked it for an extra 15 minutes--probably because of the overnight chill. And because I got slightly lazy with my grating, I encountered more than one glorious pocket of melted cheese as I sliced for guests. Just heavenly.

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4 months ago Emma

A little to sweet even with 50g less sugar for my liking.

Stringio

4 months ago Jennifer Kaufman Gresham

I didn't find the taste of cheddar to be overwhelming, but I would think you could substitute and semi-soft cheese. I actually did half white cheddar and half spicy gouda in the biscuits. Swiss & mozzerela might get too stringy ... so, maybe havarti or gouda. You might even try shaved parmesan.

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5 months ago nice rice

Sorry one question regarding the cheddar cheese ,would anyone know of a substitute I might be able to use ?

Stringio

5 months ago Jennifer Kaufman Gresham

I made this recipe last night ... as biscuits instead of the square pan. Slightly less cooking time and brushed with buttermilk, salt & pepper. OMG! Awesome!!!

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5 months ago Suzie Bender

OMG! I just made this and this cornbread rocks! I substituted one of the cups of flour with corn flour, omitted the pepper and brushed the top with Buttermilk instead of cream. I also only had a 8x8 pan, so increased the cooking time by 5-6 minutes and lowered the temp by a few degrees. Amazingly moist. Thinking of using this as a substitute for my strawberries and shortcake!

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5 months ago Gayle

I just made this with Gluten free Flour; after baking for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, it's still not cooked. Any ideas?

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5 months ago Marji

About 6 oz

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5 months ago allison

How much does 1 1/2 cup of cheese weigh in ounces?

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5 months ago Marji

Organic (preferably) heavy cream gets brushed on top

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5 months ago Phyllis Torbjornsen

I, too, ask the question. What type of cream was used to brush on the dough? Thanking you in advance for the answer.

Miglore

5 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Apologies for the confusion -- I just added heavy cream to the recipe list, though other types of cream will work just fine.

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5 months ago Poppaj

Had this with dinner tonight...we four diners agree: delicious. Thanks for an easy, tasty cornbread (or whatever others want to call it!) recipe.

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5 months ago Marji

I just made this and it's incredible. I wanted to email a link to my daughter as her husband loves cornbread. I decided to leave a comment because I liked it so much, and I ended up reading the other comments. "What kind of cream? (any) Where's the pepper? (In your cupboard and it goes on top) "It's not really cornbread, it's not really cornbread..." If anyone actually read the column, it says right there how people get so adamant about what constitutes "proper" cornbread, but let's open ourselves to a new variation. Anyway Vera, I absolutely adore your version.

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5 months ago Beverly Greenberg

what kind of cream was used on top of batter?

Miglore

5 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Apologies for the confusion -- I just added heavy cream to the recipe list, though other types of cream will work just fine.

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5 months ago Dawn

I made this exactly as directed out of curiosity and I thought it was very good. It should not be called cornbread though. Please come up with another name for it. I think it would be really good with some jalapeno peppers and corn kernels in the mix.

Scab___the_goblin

5 months ago Candlewic

Could the dough be stored overnight in the fridge? Would make it easier to bring the pre-made dough to camp the next day.

Miglore

5 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Yes, that should work well!

Butch_and_kath

5 months ago Kathcooks

Where's the black pepper?

Miglore

5 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Thanks for asking -- it's sprinkled on in step 3 but I just added it to the ingredient list too.

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5 months ago btglenn

Call it what you may -- but with 3/4 cups of sugar and half a pound of butter -- this isn't corn "bread" -- this is a savory cake!

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5 months ago meg

There's an awful lot of flour in this for cornbread. What if you reverse the quantities of flour and corn? I try to do gluten free (I know, I hate it too, and nothing really compared to what for baking) and I cheat some, but this is a whole load of cheatin'.

Miglore

5 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

It's worth a try, though it will probably be denser and grittier -- not necessarily a bad thing. I loved her recipe as written and it had plenty of corniness for me, but I freely admit I am not a Southerner!