Pecan, Cranberry and Cornbread Dressing

IMG_8978This pecan and cranberry studded cornbread dressing has the perfect ratio of crispy topping and soft center, with contrasting bursts of flavor in every bite. Plain or topped with gravy, it goes beautifully with roast turkey and all the sides. Bake the cornbread ahead of time and store it on the counter or in the freezer for easy last-minute assembly.

Monash University just released the Android version of the iPhone low FODMAP app. Both versions give accurate information about foods that trigger IBS symptoms, as well as other features that help navigate the sometimes confusing diet. I use the app all the time and find it particularly helpful when I want to cook with an ingredient that is safe only in smaller servings.

Cranberries and currants are a great example, as the recommended serving is a half portion, or 1 tablespoon. Unless you’re from Australia you may not realize that an Australian tablespoon is 4 teaspoons, while an American tablespoon is 3 teaspoons. That’s when it pays to have one of the apps, because you can see what the weight of a serving is in grams, and avoid any confusion.

If you are lactose-intolerant and can’t drink buttermilk, make your own substitute by adding 1 1/2 tablespoons (22.5 ml) white wine vinegar or lemon juice to the measuring cup, then fill it with lactose-free milk. Stir and then continue with the recipe. If you use lactose-free milk and heavy cream, the recipe will contain .8 grams of lactose per serving. According to “Food Intolerance Management Plan”, by Sue Shepherd, most people with lactose intolerance can handle about 4 grams of lactose per serving of food without experiencing problems (page 29). As always, only eat what your body can tolerate, and only you know what that is.

Pecan, Cranberry and Cornbread Dressing

Serves 8, adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Cornbread ingredients

6 ounces (168 grams) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) buttermilk or soured lactose-free milk
2 teaspoons (10 ml) psyillium husks
1 1/2 cups (255 grams or 360 ml) cornmeal, not stone-ground
1/3 cup (46 grams or 80 ml) superfine brown rice flour
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (16 grams or 20 ml) potato starch
1 tablespoon (8 grams or 15 ml) tapioca starch
1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 ml) baking powder
3/4 teaspoon (3.75 ml) baking soda
3/4 teaspoon (3.75 ml) salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (90 grams or 180 ml) pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (52 grams or 75 ml) dried cranberries
5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (52 grams or 75 ml)  currants

Dressing ingredients

Unsalted butter for baking dish
2 cups (480 ml) whole milk, regular or lactose-free, as tolerated
2 cups (480 ml) heavy cream
4 large eggs
1 bunch green onions, green part only, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) pepper

Heat the oven to 425º F (218 C). Place the butter in an 8 or 9 inch (20 or 23 cm) square baking dish and place it in the oven to melt. Meanwhile, add the buttermilk to a large bowl and warm it in the microwave. Whisk in the psyllium, then stir in the butter as soon as it’s melted. Set the baking dish to the side. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the pecans, cranberries and currants, then use your fingers to rub through the mixture and make sure that clumps of fruit are separated into individual pieces.

Beat the eggs into the buttermilk mixture, then add the cornmeal mixture. Whisk just until mixed, then pour the batter into the baking dish and place in the center of the oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely in the pan, about 1 hour. The cornbread can be stored at room temperature for 2 days, or frozen for 1 month.

To prepare the dressing, heat the oven to 375º F (190 C). Cut the cornbread into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces and place on a rimmed baking sheet, along with any crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Increase the oven temperature to 425º F (218 C). Butter a 9 x 13 inch (23 x 32.5 cm) baking dish. In a large bowl, mix together the milk, cream, eggs, green onions, salt and pepper. Gently fold in the toasted cornbread and crumbs, making sure that they are evenly moistened. Pour the mixture into the baking dish and bake until the top is brown and the custard is set, about 35 to 40 minutes (may take 10 minutes longer if using a glass baking dish; tent with foil to prevent excess browning). Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.