I was inspired by a Food and Wine recipe for Strawberry-Rhubarb Cornmeal Skillet Cake, by baker and food writer Jocelyn Delk Adams. Strawbwrries, from the mainland greenhouses, are lovely this time of year. But as I have probably said before we have no rhubarb in Greece, so I decided to add apples instead.
I didn’t make the very intriguing rosemary whipped cream Adam suggests, which I will probably try another time, but opted for ice cream instead.
Since both Costas and I love the caramel base of the Apple and Quince Crumble I make often, I decided to repeat something similar here.
Needless to say, that I substituted again light olive oil for the butter in the original recipe, as I do all the time, and the result was absolutely great! Note that this cornbread/cake, unlike most other cakes, is best slightly warm, the day it is baked.
Serves 8: a 10-inch (26cm) skillet.
THE APPLE BASE:
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup light olive oil, canola or sunflower oil
2 Apples halved, cored, and thinly sliced; I used Fuji.
FOR THE CORNBREAD/CAKE
1 cup All-Purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar, plus 2-3 tablespoons Turbinado or any light brown sugar for sprinkling
2/3 cup light olive oil, canola or sunflower oil
2/3 cup full-fat yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh strawberries
Vanilla Ice Cream for serving (optional)
Place the skillet over medium-high heat and add the sugar and water. Swirl the skillet as it bubbles and gradually starts to color. When it is light amber add the olive oil, swirl the pan and spread the apple slices carefully, as they may splatter. Press with a wooden spoon and lower the heat. Simmer and don’t mind if some hard sugary pieces form; they will dissolve later as the cake bakes in the oven. When the apple slices have soften, after about 4-5 minutes, remove the skillet from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).
Make the cornbread/cake: Whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt and baking powder in a small bowl until combined and set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, add the sugar and the eggs and work in slow to start with and increase the speed after 2 minutes; keep beating until light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can use a hand-held mixer.
In a small bowl whisk the oil with the yogurt and add it to the egg mixture working on medium. Add the vanilla and gradually add the flours, continuing to beat in low, until completely incorporated. You will probably need to stop and scrape the sides of the bowl with a flexible spatula to make sure all flour is mixed in.
Pour the batter over the apples and carefully spread it with the spatula. Scatter the strawberries on the batter and sprinkle with the light brown sugar.
Bake for about 40 minutes or more, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 20 minutes before cutting to serve, accompanying with ice cream, if you like.
This cornbread/cake, unlike most other cakes, is best slightly warm, the day it is baked, but you can wrap the leftover in kitchen film and enjoy it the next day as well.