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Warm Johnny Cakes with Blackberries

Oxmoor House
Yield Makes 6 servings.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 3 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 cups vanilla ice cream

How to Make It

  1. Combine milk, honey, and 1/4 teaspoon lemon rind in a small saucepan; cook over low heat until mixture reaches 110°F, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat, and add yeast; cover and steep 15 minutes or until yeast begins to foam. Whisk together cornmeal and milk mixture in a bowl until smooth. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 30 minutes. While batter is rising, place blackberries in a bowl; sprinkle with 3 tablespoons sugar. Stir in lemon juice and remaining 3/4 teaspoon lemon rind; allow berries to sit at room temperature 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  2. Beat egg whites at low speed with an electric mixer until foamy. With machine running on low, add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 tablespoon at a time. Increase speed to medium, and beat until medium-stiff peaks form. Once dough has risen and soaked up most of the liquid, fold one-third of beaten egg whites into dough batter. Add a second third of egg white mixture to batter, and fold until well incorporated. Fold in remaining egg whites, being careful not to overmix or deflate batter.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add batter, 2 rounded tablespoonfuls at a time, to form cakes about the size of silver dollars. Cook cakes 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a plate, and keep warm. Repeat with remaining butter and batter. Serve macerated blackberries and juices over cakes and ice cream.

Chris and Idie Hastings, Chefs & Owners, Hot and Hot Fish Club, Birmingham, Alabama, Glorious Grits – America's Favorite Comfort Food