Roasted Pear & Spoon Bread Tart with Cranberry, Orange & Jalapeño Glaze
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bring the water to boiling in a large saucepan.Advertisement
Meanwhile, stir together butter and oil in a small bowl.
When the water boils, remove the saucepan from the heat. Slowly sprinkle cornmeal over the water, stirring constantly. Continue to cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until the mixture is very thick and smooth.
As soon as you remove the cornmeal batter from the heat, add the butter-oil mixture, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; stir until combined. Let the batter cool for 2 to 3 minutes or until you can stick your finger in it and leave it there at least 5 seconds.
Add milk, egg, and egg whites to the batter; beat with a whisk or hand-held electric mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until smooth. (The batter will be thin.)
Coat an 8- or 9-inch oven-proof cast-iron or other heavy skillet with cooking spray. (Or wipe it with a paper towel that has been dipped in grapeseed oil.) Heat the skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until hot. Pour the batter into the hot skillet. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the spoon bread stops puffing and rising. Do not overbake.
Meanwhile, prepare glaze: Combine apple juice (or apple cider), orange juice, and cranberries in a medium saucepan and cook and stir over medium-high heat until boiling. Add cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, and jalapeño to the simmering cranberries. Stir gently just to mix. Simmer gently, uncovered, about 1 1/4 hours or until the cranberries are soft and the liquid is syrupy and measures about 1/4 cup. If the liquid evaporates, moisten the cranberries by adding small, equal amounts of apple juice and orange juice. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, and jalapeño. Stir in the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt. If necessary, to round out the flavor, stir in the additional 1 teaspoon honey. (Allow the glaze to cool a little before adding any honey.) Keep warm until needed (see Tip).
Remove the skillet from the oven; very carefully arrange the pear slices over the spoon bread in a circular pattern. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Bake for about 10 minutes or until nicely browned and the pears are tender but still hold their shape.
To serve, spoon some of the the warm glaze over the bread. Serve immediately. Pass any remaining glaze.
Tips: It's crucial to use stone-ground cornmeal for this spoon bread. If you mistakenly buy a cornmeal mix or meal that is not stone-ground, the spoon bread may be tough and hard. Also, be careful not to overcook the cornmeal batter.
If desired, toast the cinnamon stick by grasping it with tongs and holding it an inch or so above a high gas flame about 1 minute or until it darkens a shade and is fragrant. (Or, set the cinnamon stick directly on a hot electric coil and turn it as it toasts. This takes 20 to 30 seconds.) With either method, be sure to wear oven mitts or use a reliable pot holder.
Because chile peppers contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes, avoid direct contact with them as much as possible. When working with chile peppers, wear plastic or rubber gloves. If your bare hands do touch the peppers, wash your hands and nails well with soap and warm water.
To store leftover glaze, refrigerate in a covered container for up to 3 days. To use, reheat in the microwave on Medium for 20-30 seconds at a time until warmed.
1 1/2 starch, 1/2 fat, 1/2 fruit