The other night I didn’t feel like cooking, but wanted to eat something based on berries. I was hungry, so I didn’t want to wait too long. Although a Dutch Baby would qualify (and yummily so), I didn’t have enough eggs. Time to be creative.
I found a box of cornbread/muffin mix (you know the brand, its the little blue box and is exceedingly cheap). I try to keep a box or two on hand because it makes the best topper for my chicken pot pie (and much healthier than pastry). It only required 1/3 cup of milk and a single egg — I had that on hand. In the freezer I found a bag of mixed berries from Trader Joe’s — 16 oz. of strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries.
I put the frozen berries into an 8×8 glass baking dish and sprinkled 1/3 cup of sugar on top. I added 2 tsp cinnamon and 2 Tbl cornstarch, then stirred until the berries were coated fairly evenly. In a bowl I mixed the cornbread batter and increased the milk to 1/2 cup — I wanted the batter to be a bit thinner than usual. The key to this mix is to not overbeat it (which is true for all quickbreads) and I was careful to stop just before I thought it was completely mixed. I poured the batter over the berries, made sure the top was almost completely covered, and then baked at 400 degrees for 25 minutes (which is a little longer than the cornbread recipe calls for, but I figures the frozen berries would need more time. If using fresh, or defrosted, I’d cut the time to 20 minutes).
The berries were bubbling up on the sides (like they do with a good pie or cobbler) and the top was a pale golden brown. I let it sit for about 20 minutes to cool and then ate 1/4 of it with a spoon from a bowl.
It was SO good. A little sweet, but not like a dessert, and nourishing. It was pretty inexpensive (the mixed berries can be expensive, but I buy a bunch of them in the late summer and keep them in the extra freezer, so I saved there as well), and I’d have no problem serving this to company. It would be easy enough to make the cornbread from scratch, thereby making this 100% homemade.