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Sugar-Roasted Peach and Cornbread Sundaes with Bacon Syrup

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Serves 8, with leftover cornbread

  • by Bill Taibe from Fine Cooking
    Issue 118

In this dessert, cakey cornbread is paired with the smoky-sweet peaches, salty bacon-studded maple syrup, and rich vanilla gelato. A sprinkle of fruity Aleppo pepper and minced fresh sage completes the sweet-salty-spicy-herbal equation.

For the cornbread:
  • 4 oz. (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened; more for the baking dish
  • 9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the baking dish
  • 3 oz. (1/2 cup) fine yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
For the bacon syrup:
  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, preferably applewood-smoked
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
For serving:
  • 8 Sugar-Roasted Peach halves, warmed
  • Vanilla gelato or ice cream
  • Minced fresh sage, for garnish
  • Aleppo pepper flakes, for garnish (optional)
Make the cornbread:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking dish.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand-held electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Adjust the mixer speed to low and add the cream, milk, and sour cream; mix until combined. The batter may look curdled at this point. Add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined and scraping down the sides as needed. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, smooth the top, and firmly tap the dish on the counter to break any air bubbles.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let the cornbread cool in its dish on a rack until warm.

Make the bacon syrup:

In a 12-inch skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, flipping occasionally, until crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain and then coarsely chop. Pour off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat from the skillet.

Add the maple syrup and honey to the skillet and heat over medium heat, stirring to combine. Return the bacon to the skillet and stir to combine and heat through, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and let the syrup cool to warm.

Serve:

Cut eight 2-inch cubes from the cornbread (you’ll have leftover cornbread). If made ahead, warm the cubes in a 250°F oven for 10 minutes, or lightly toast them in a toaster oven. Put a cube of cornbread on each of 8 plates. Arrange the peaches and scoops of gelato near the cornbread. Top with the bacon syrup, sage, and a tiny pinch of Aleppo pepper, if using.

Make Ahead Tips

The syrup can be made up to 5 days ahead; cool completely, transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate. Warm over low heat before using. The cornbread can be made up to 1 day ahead; wrap tightly and store at room temperature.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 620; Fat (g): 26; Fat Calories (kcal): 230; Saturated Fat (g): 14; Protein (g): 9; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8; Carbohydrates (g): 91; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): 280; Cholesterol (mg): 130; Fiber (g): 3;

Photo: Colin Clark

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