Saturday, January 5, 2008
Corn Meal Batter Cakes from the Beaumont Inn
Beaumont Inn, located in Harrodsburg, offers gracious and welcoming Kentucky hospitality and fine Southern cooking.
For the past two years when we have visited Kentucky we have often stayed at the Beaumont Inn in historic Harrodsburg. This Greek Revival style inn has been in the Dedman family for four generations and before that it was Daughters' College (later Beaumont College). A hearty Southern buffet breakfast is included in your lodging (rooms, furnished with antiques, are large, airy and ample) and if you ask them they'll prepare their famous corn meal batter cakes to order (served with a brown sugar syrup, but just as good with real maple syrup, too).
Here is the recipe from Beaumont Inn Special Recipes cookbook that, I'm relieved to say, I just located in a missing box. The book was compiled by Mary Elizabeth Dedman in 1983 and is still available at the inn. The recipe tastes the same as the cakes we have had for breakfast there and has received enthusiastic response in our house (it is also good for those with wheat intolerance because they have no flour in them). I've started to save bacon fat in an old milk glass "Drippings" jar and its addition in the griddle adds much.
Corn Meal Batter Cakes
from the Beaumont Inn
• 1 cup corn meal (we use H.R. Wentzel's**)
• 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 2 eggs, beaten
•2 Tbsps bacon drippings or shortening
Sift meal, soda and salt together. Add beaten eggs, then buttermilk. Beat until smooth. Dip a tablespoon of batter (or a bit more) onto a greased hot griddle. Let brown on bottom, then turn quickly and lightly to brown on other side.
Makes about 10-12 good-sized cakes. [I made this entire recipe in a 4-cup measuring cup and poured it directly from that.]
**NOTE: Several years ago we purchased some marvelous corn meal (ok, I was lured by their great bag for some shoots for The Pantry, but the meal itself is almost an umber color, perhaps because it is roasted). I believe I found it somewhere, perhaps at a farmer's market, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Today I tried to track down the company, H.R. Wentzel & Sons, on-line. Instead, I spoke with a man at this phone number, 717-789-3306, and he is going to send me a price list (no website as of yet--they still trade the old-fashioned way which, while inconvenient at times, you have to admire). They mill several kinds of flour and grains--without additives--at their mill and store in Landisburg, Pennsylvania. They are not far from Harrisburg, along one of our routes back and forth to New England, so I hope to stop in the next few months. They sell by mail or their retail store and I'll blog again when I have more information. I love a good grist mill!
In fact, and this is another aside (I'm just full of asides these days), among the enterprises in which my family was involved in Akron, Ohio was grain milling (and the manufacture of mowers and reapers, and later on, tires--an industrious bunch). Recently, on eBay, I came across a set of these Seiberling Milling Co. flour bags in perfect condition, well over 100 years old. I expect they had been unused in a box or drawer. Anyway, I traded the nice buyer an Aultman & Miller trade card for one of these bags! [And speaking of Miller, my great-great grandmother, for whom I was named (and I am lucky to have her portrait, too, thanks to my Dad), was Catherine Miller Seiberling. Ah, synchronicity!] This bag awaits a nice ironing and then framing. It will go in my new kitchen, of course.
This morning when we had our corn cakes I was reminded of the ones my Dad's friend Mr. Weller used to make for my brothers and I when we visited Akron. I think he used a Jiffy cornmeal mix. The best part were the chocolate malteds he made to go with them! Maybe I should eat breakfast more often because this morning's sure conjured much.