Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Spiced Apple and Brown Sugar Spoonbread: An Easy Bread Pudding by Cleo Coyle #apples

The earliest published version of spoonbread dates back to the Carolina Housewife cookbook by Sarah Rutledge, 1847.

To make Sarah's version, you take...

"One pint of corn flour; boil half to a mush; add, when nearly cold, two eggs, a table-spoonful of butter and a gill* of milk, and then the remaining half of flour. Bake on a griddle, or grease a pan and drop in spoonfuls."

*A gill equals 1/2 cup. (And, yes, I had to look it up.)

So there you are. You can try Sarah's recipe or give mine a go. This Spiced Apple and Brown Sugar Spoonbread has layers of harvest flavor added to make a lovely, warm breakfast bread pudding for apple season. 

With our own New York apples in the markets now (or a short drive away to pick-your-own orchards), this is not only a great time for apple dishes, but also apple mysteries...

Warm congrats to my fellow crime-writing cook, Sheila Connolly, on the release of her new Orchard Mystery Golden Malicious.

May you eat (and read) with joy! 

~ Cleo

Cleo Coyle, author of The
Coffeehouse Mysteries
, has
a partner in crime-writing--
her husband, Marc.
Cleo Coyle's
Spiced Apple
and Brown Sugar

An Easy Bread Pudding

Spoonbread is said to have its roots in a Native American dish called subpawn, a type of cornmeal porridge. English colonists added eggs and milk to enrich the dish, and (as I mentioned above) the first published version appeared in 1847. 

I built on the classic recipe, adding harvest flavors to create an easy, tasty breakfast bread pudding, perfect for chilly fall mornings. Serve it plain or with a drizzle of maple syrup for a tasty alternative to pancakes or waffles. And don't forget that fresh, hot pot of coffee to warm your bones while you're waiting to eat with joy... ~ Cleo

To download my recipe in a free PDF document that you can print, save, or share click here.

This recipe is perfect for a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish. In a pinch, however, you can use an 8-inch square baking pan. Whatever you use, be sure it is well greased with butter or cooking spray to prevent sticking. For a larger batch, double the amount of ingredients and use a 2-1/2 quart casserole dish or a 9 x 9 x 2-inch pan. Cooking time may be a bit longer for a larger casserole, check for doneness as indicated in the recipe.


1 large ripe apple (or 2 small), peeled and shredded
using a boxed grater (or food processor)
(about 1-1/4 cups shredded apple)

3 tablespoons melted butter

2 tablespoons white, granulated sugar

¼ cup (packed) light brown sugar

1 teaspoon apple pie spice

¼ teaspoon salt

1-1/2 cups milk whole or low fat (1% or 2%, not skim)

½ cup apple juice (or apple cider)

¾ cup cornmeal (yellow or white)

(optional) ½ cup raisins or craisins (sweetened dried cranberries)

2 eggs

2 teaspoons baking powder

Directions: First preheat your oven to 350° F. Into a medium size saucepan, place the shredded apples and butter, warm over medium heat, stirring while butter melts. Add the white and brown sugars, apple pie spice, and salt and stir to blend the flavors. Add the milk, apple juice, 3/4 cup of cornmeal, and (optional) raisins or craisins (or a combination of the two). Cook and stir this mixture over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until mixture thickens and resembles porridge.

IMPORTANT: Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool off for at least ten minutes before whisking in the eggs and baking powder. Transfer immediately to a well-greased 1-1/2 quart casserole dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes (depending on oven). When spoonbread is set on top (no longer liquid and jiggling) and slightly browned, it’s finished cooking. As the name implies, spoon the bread pudding onto plates right from the baking dish. You can eat it plain or drizzle pure maple syrup on it for an amazing breakfast.

P h o t o s 

Eat (and read) with joy! 
~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

A Brew to a Kill

The bestseller in hardcover is
now a bestseller in paperback.

"A foodie's delight...And a
satisfyingly rich mystery."
~ Kirkus Reviews

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
12 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 


  1. I have a very similar recette, from 1830-came with the house we bought- we were the 3rd owner...house was built in 1830. Spoon bread is an old, old, recette.

    1. SueAnn - I'd love to see your house--and I have no doubt there are many recipes that pre-date the first cited publication of a recipe for spoonbread (aka spoon bread, I've seen it as one word and as two). According to the University of Michigan, the dish has its roots in a Native American cornmeal porridge, which makes it a wonderful historical dish for our land, and a nice one to serve at harvest time, I think. Thanks for your comment, and I'll bet that 1830 recipe has some interesting language as well. As noted, I had to look up gill! Cheers and have a delicious week...

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  2. Oh boy Cleo, I would like a bowl of that this morning! Congratulations Sheila!

    1. Thanks, Lucy, I'll save a plate for you. :)

  3. This sounds great--I haven't seen a recipe that combines apples and cornmeal. I'll be trying it!

    And thanks for the heads up for Golden Malicious!

    1. I hope you enjoy it, Sheila, and happy release day to you!

      ~ Cleo

  4. Cleo, sounds lovely. I adore spoonbread by itself. My grandmother made it perfectly! I'll have to try this and since it's corn, I can! Yay.

    Hugs, Daryl / Avery

    1. Daryl/Avery - I would have loved to taste your grandmother's spoonbread! (Glad to know that gluten-free eaters can enjoy this, too.) Thanks for the comment and have a great week...

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  5. Your pictures really make the recipe come alive. This, as usual, sounds delicious and tummy warming.
    What happened to the FaceBook "like"? I don't see it.

    1. Correction-the FaceBook link has now appeared. A mystery is solved.

    2. Libby - First, I'm glad to know you enjoyed the post. The photos were fun to put together...spoonbread if a nearly monochromatic subject but the colorful harvest flavor additions (apples and cranberries) make it easier on the eyes. As for the stomach, the contents of the casserole dish should take care of that!

      RE: The mystery of the FB like button... If ever you see anything mysteriously disappear on our site, try reloading/refreshing the page and (with luck) you'll solve all of the "mysteries" of blogger that way, lol!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

    3. Ah, if only all the mysteries were so easy to solve! Oh, wait. That would spoil all your books, wouldn't it?

  6. A perfect fall recipe, Cleo! There are lots of fresh apples from local trees for sale everywhere and I will make use of this more than once I am sure.


    1. Apple season is definitely upon us, MJ. I just love this time of year, don't you? Enjoy the season...

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  7. Spoonbread is hugely popular in the South. Silly me, I didn't realize it was made with cornmeal! Your apples and brown sugar would certainly kick it up a notch! Yum!


  8. Thanks, Krista, yes the cornmeal is a fun ingredient. I grew up on Italian polenta, so I couldn't wait to play with this popular Southern recipe. I love how it bakes up, light and fluffy, like a souffle. Thanks for dropping by and have a delicious week...

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter