Bacon–Apricot Cornbread with Maple Ice Cream
Le Pigeon, Portland, OR
Chef Gabriel Rucker’s breakfast-inspired dessert features cornbread studded with bits of bacon and dried apricots served with a scoop of rich maple ice cream.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- 5 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup diced bacon
- 1 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup, optional
To make the maple ice cream, combine the cream, syrup, sugar, and vanilla bean in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks until light and fluffy. Remove the vanilla bean from the cream mixture. By droplets at first, whisk the hot mixture into the yolks to temper them. Pour this back into the saucepan, set over medium-low heat and continue stirring until the mixture begins to thicken and give off steam; do not let it come to a boil. Remove from the heat and transfer to a clean bowl. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
Churn this mixture in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.
To make the cornbread, preheat the oven to 325˚F. Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with one tablespoon of the butter. Coat with 2 tablespoons of flour and set aside.
Heat remaining tablespoon of butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until the bacon is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Combine the remaining 1 cup of flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add buttermilk, milk, and eggs. Stir until just combined.
Combine apricots, honey, molasses, and cooked bacon with about a tablespoon of the bacon drippings and stir to combine. Pour cornbread mixture into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly. Serve with a scoop maple ice cream.
If desired, you can combine any remaining bacon drippings with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and drizzle over the top of the ice cream. You can also top with some additional cooked bacon bits.
One 8 x 8-inch cornbread, about 9 servings