Specialty of the House: The Pit's Pumpkin Cornbread

andrea.weigl@newsobserver.comOctober 26, 2013 

SPECIALTY-AL-102113-JEL

The pumpkin skillet cornbread from The Pit in Raleigh.

JULI LEONARD — jleonard@newsobserver.com

  • The restaurant

    The Pit, 328 W. Davie St., Raleigh, 27601

    919-890-4500, thepit-raleigh.com

We live in Youngsville and decided to go to downtown Raleigh for dinner to celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. We had a wonderful time at The Pit. The food and atmosphere were great!

They had a pumpkin cornbread served with maple butter in a small cast iron skillet that was so very good. We took home two slices and enjoyed them the next morning with our coffee. (I should have placed another order of this great tasting treat to take home.)

Could you please find out how they make the pumpkin skillet cornbread? Thanks so much!

Kelly Warshawsky

Youngsville

The Pit’s sous chef Nate Morgan was happy to talk about the pumpkin skillet cornbread, which first appeared on the Raleigh barbecue restaurant’s menu in 2009. The cornbread has become so popular that there would be outcry from diners if it were removed.

“It is our No. 1-selling appetizer,” Morgan said.

The kitchen staff makes 12 to 15 gallons of pumpkin cornbread batter every day to keep up with demand. They bake it in 6-inch cast-iron skillets but the recipe they shared can be baked at home in muffin tins.

At the restaurant, the cornbread is served with a whipped maple butter, which also is easy to make at home. Whip a stick of room temperature butter in a mixer with maple syrup to taste and a pinch of salt.

The Pit’s Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins Cooking spray 3/4 cup sugar 3 eggs, beaten slightly 1 1/3 cups buttermilk 1 cup canned pumpkin puree 1 1/3 cups cornmeal (white or yellow) 1 1/3 cups flour 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon Pinch of nutmeg 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

HEAT oven to 350 degrees. Use an all-purpose cooking spray to grease a muffin tin. Set aside.

MIX sugar, eggs, buttermilk and pumpkin puree in a medium bowl until well blended. Set aside.

COMBINE cornmeal, flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well. Add the melted butter and stir until thoroughly combined.

SPOON batter into muffin tin, about two-thirds full. Slam muffin tin down on kitchen counter several times to release air bubbles. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, turning pan 180 degrees after first 10 minutes.. The muffins are done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean and the tops are set.

Yield: about 1 1/2 dozen muffins

Specialty of the House gets recipes for local restaurant dishes. Send requests, including your city, to Specialty of the House, The N&O, P.O. Box 191, Raleigh, N.C. 27602; or email aweigl@newsobserver.com.

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