Sunday, February 21, 2010


I have been wanting to make hoecakes since 2004 when this recipe was published in Martha Stewart Living--cornbread in pancake form!

Six years later, I watch True Blood, Tara says "Hoecakes! And you fried them in bacon grease!" and now, I have to make them, I've put it off long enough!

I googled "hoecakes" for a second opinion on a recipe (it's a southern specialty, so I'm not sure if Martha Stewart is exactly the authority...), Paula Deen enlightened me with this recipe, and with her 50 comments [to Martha's zero], I decided to favor Paula.

Paula calls calls for self rising flour and self rising cornmeal, which I refuse to buy when I have perfectly good AP flour and regular cornmeal, so I mixed Martha with Paula to get the following:

1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. cornmeal
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tbs. sugar
2 eggs
3/4 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. + 1 tbs. water
1/4 c. bacon grease
oil for frying

Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Whisk in wet ingredients until just blended. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Spoon in two tablespoons of batter per hoecake until brown and crisp turn over. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Serve with maple syrup or honey and bacon!

Despite True Blood saying to fry the hoecakes in bacon grease, I think that bacon fat inside the cake itself would integrate the bacon-y goodness, rather than coat the hoecakes in a greasy mess. Be sure to have the ingredients at room temperature (the eggs and buttermilk), if not warmed, because the warm bacon fat solidifies with the cold and stiffens the batter. I used my eggs and buttermilk out of the fridge and at first the batter didn't spread out much and it wasn't until my last two pancakes that they spread out on their own and showed the tell-tale bubbles on the surface. If you forget to let the ingredients come to room temp, let the batter sit until it's thin and pourable.

Martha says to serve the hoecakes with honey, which is what I ate mine with today, but I think it would go much better with the thinner consistency of maple syrup. Pure and real maple syrup, mind you. We only have Aunt Jemima's syrup in our apartment right now, shamefully, and it is NOT maple syrup. Seriously, it's corn syrup and color and flavorings; there isn't a drop of maple in that stuff, and it tastes like it. Sorry to be a food snob, but I'm probably going to continue serving mine with honey (I have 8 more hoecakes now sitting in my refrigerator to be eaten over the next few mornings), since I'm trying to save money on food and I don't think I want to spend it on maple syrup when I have perfectly lovely Italian honey sitting in my pantry.

I never realized the beauty of bacon until I fried it myself...I come from an Asian household, so we never really ate bacon and I always found it kind of concerning to have so much fat on such a small piece of meat, but when fried up crisp, it really is quite wonderful. And it goes great with hoecakes.

These smell fantastic when they're cooking, but f.y.i., if you just cooked your bacon in that pan, wipe it out. I didn't because I wanted to use the residual fat to cook the hoecakes, but the pan ended up smoking and made the entire apartment smell like smoke.

All in all, hoecakes are awesome. I love using cornmeal in everything and these are a nice change from your plain ol' pancakes.

much love,

p.s. next on my cooking wishlist: crispy prosciutto: prosciutto baked in the oven, that is, once our oven is fixed.

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