There is a certain pancake that has been following Betsy and I around lately. The breakfast dish is centered around light and fluffy corn cakes that are stuffed with delicious things.
Most recently, we tried them out at The Village Smithy in Carbondale.
While The Village Smithy claims to be the creator of the breakfast dish, a copy of it can also be found at the famous Pancake Pantry in Nashville.
In other words, this dish gets around.
So I figured it might as well make its debut on Macheesmo.
I was very scared to make this dish. Some breakfast institutions make it and I would hate to not do it justice.
When Betsy (official corn cake taste-tester) took her first bite, she proclaimed: “Yours are better.”
1) Stir together cornmeal and salt. Add boiling water and stir. Let sit for 5-10 minutes so water can absorb.
2) Stir in milk, olive oil, and egg into batter. Let rest while you make filling.
3) Bake bacon until crispy at 350 degrees. Dice or crumble the bacon and stir in with diced scallions and grated cheese.
4) To make cakes, add a drizzle of oil to a griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1/4 cup of the cornmeal batter.
5) Immediately top batter with a small handful of the bacon filling. Spoon another 1/4 cup of batter over the top of the filling so it mostly covers the filling. It's okay if it doesn't cover everything.
6) Let cook for 3-4 minutes or until the edges are firm around the cake.
7) Flip cake and cook for another few minutes until they are cooked through.
8) Serve cakes immediately with maple syrup or salsa!
Corn cakes roughly adapted from a Bittman recipe.
I really struggled over what kind of cake to make for this. Betsy actually had some cakes leftover from when we went to The Village Smithy and I inspected them pretty closely. I think they use a cornmeal/flour blend for their cakes.
Ultimately, I decided to go a slightly different route and use a 100% cornmeal mix that ended up being wonderful.
The recipe I ended up with is one that I adapted from a Bittman recipe (I added an egg and subtracted some other stuff).
Being the cocky cook that I am, I didn’t even read the full recipe before starting it. I just stirred my milk straight into my cornmeal.
Needless to say that this didn’t work. I ended up with a very thick paste that would not be good in pancake form.
I was about to write Mr. Bittman a mean letter, but then I actually read the recipe and step one was to add 1 1/2 cups of boiling water to the cornmeal.
That made MUCH more sense.
My only gripe is that there should’ve been a line for boiling water in the original recipe, but still my fault for not reading.
Anyway, stir your cornmeal and salt together and then pour in your hot water. Stir and let this sit for 5-10 minutes so all the water gets absorbed.
Then you can stir in your milk, olive oil, and egg and your batter will be just about perfect.
It should be a pretty thin batter so if it looks too thick, feel free to add a bit more milk.
I kept my filling simple: bacon, scallions, grated cheese.
If you wanted a veggie version you could skip the bacon and add in some green chiles or something.
In any event, just cook the bacon until it’s very crispy. I like to cook mine in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. See my how to cook perfect bacon post for more info on that.
Then just stir all your filling ingredients together!
Making the Cakes
I was not positive that I would be able to fill these successfully. I had a few different methods that I was going to try, but luckily the first method worked like a charm.
Here’s what you do.
Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat with a drizzle of oil. Then add in 1/4 cup (1/3 would make a really big cake) of corn cake batter.
Immediately top the cake batter with a small handfull of the filling mixture. It’s okay if it spills over a bit.
Press down on the filling a bit to get it kind of sunk into the pancake.
As soon as your filling is in place, add another 1/4 cup (or 1/3 cup) of batter to the top of the filling.
It’s okay if the batter doesn’t completely cover the filling but try to get it to mostly cover it.
Let this cook for about 4 minutes until the edges of the cake are really nice and firm.
Then give it a flip!
Cook the cake for another three minutes or so on the second side and serve these up as soon as possible!
Serving the Cakes
There’s two delicious ways to serve these bad boys.
First, you can go the entirely savory route. These are savory cakes so you could serve them with hot sauce or salsa and be all set.
Personally, I like to mix a little sweet with my savory so I like maple syrup.
As you can see from the cross section, the cakes are incredibly light and the filling is right in the middle.
I was actually shocked at how well these came out!
I was surprised that Betsy thought my version was better but then after trying it, I had to agree with her.
These were darn near perfect!