One day at the Central Market, I saw a cornbread muffin filled with ricotta and pesto. It stopped me in my tracks. It was like the other 500 people in the market suddenly disappeared, and there was just me and this muffin. I approached it slowly, trying to figure out if it actually existed, or if I was just hungrily hallucinating. I stared for a long time. I poked it. I whispered sweet nothings into its ear. Around the time we were deciding if we should raise our kids on the East Coast or the West, I was bullied into buying it by the store vendor (I think he saw me drool a little on it). It was incredibly delicious, the bread was light and fluffy and the sweet and creamy ricotta balanced the intense pesto nicely. And then it was gone as quickly as it had appeared. I had nothing to whisper sweet nothings into, nothing to share my hopes and dreams with. So I decided I had to make my own. Australians don?t do cornbread very much, so I couldn?t just grab a mix from the store. I used Alton Brown?s recipe from his book, I?m Just Here For More Food. Instead of ricotta, I had some fresh goat curd from Udder Delights that I really wanted to use.
The pesto I made from scratch, just a basic pesto recipe of garlic, parmesan, olive oil, pine nuts and basil, blitzed in the food processor until it was smooth.
I really wanted to get a nice ratio of filling to bread, and tried my best to push the filling down in the cups of corn bread batter. But as the bread rose, so did the filling. Next time, I may try to layer the bread batter with the filling so I can get some on the top and in the middle. Otherwise you have to strategically eat the muffin, working in the proper ratio of cheese and pesto to bread, and frankly, that gets exhausting.
The final product was this delicious breakfast bread that tasted flavorful, but was a bit denser than the muffin I had tried earlier. Most American cornbread is quite dense and crumbly, but the muffin I had eaten was as light as a cupcake. Perhaps I should cut the cornmeal with a bit of cake flour next time? The goats curd provided an interesting contrast for the pesto, but next time, I will definitely try it with some ricotta, as the goats curd was almost a bit too salty. Either way, it was a great idea for a quick breakfast on the run. And much cheaper and less embarrassing than cooing at muffins in the market?in public?where other people can hear me. ~LTG