Hye Thyme Cafe: Tomato-Basil Cornbread Pudding

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tomato-Basil Cornbread Pudding

Tomato-Basil Cornbread Pudding : Hye Thyme Cafe

The end result here was not at all what I had envisioned, but it did turn out delicious and had a light, velvety texture.

A few weeks ago, I saw a recipe that piqued my curiosity. I would have sworn it was a Tomato Bread Pudding and that I had saved the recipe to try at some point. Well, the other night was "some point," but could I find the recipe? Of course not!

If I see a recipe in a magazine that interests me, I look it up online. If it's there, I'll e-mail it to myself so I have the picture with the recipe. If that particular magazine doesn't post recipes, or you have to be a member, etc., I'll scan the magazine page and save it in the applicable folder for future reference. If I see something on a blog that interests me, I'll subscribe to the blog through Google Reader and tag the recipe there. Then there's Pinterest... I looked everywhere I could think of. I can very clearly picture it in my head, so I tried a Google Image Search, but still nothing. Argh! Oh well.

I couldn't refer to the recipe I first saw, so I just winged it. There were other recipes online, but none drew me in like that first one. I decided that since we love the Baked Tomatoes with Cornbread and Basil that I make as a side dish so much, I would go with that same flavor profile, using cornbread rather than some other type of bread.

3 corn muffins (or leftover cornbread)
5 tomatoes
1 1/2 T dried sweet basil
pinch of salt
2 eggs
Butter or Baking PAM

Because cornbread has a different texture than yeast breads, I decided to cube and toast it a bit so it would hold up to the wet mixture without turning to mush. (I was annoyed at how crumbly the muffins I got were when I tried to cube them.)

Next I sliced an "X" into the bottom of each tomato and plunged them into boiling water for about 1" until the skins started to separate, then ran them under cold water; the skins slid right off. I cut them in half and scooped out seeds so there wouldn't be so much liquid. (Annoyed again - naked tomatoes not so red.)

Butter or spray a small casserole dish and add your cornbread pieces.  

In a blender or food processor, puree the tomatoes with the sweet basil and a pinch of salt, then add the eggs. 

Pour the puree over the cornbread, jiggling the dish so it settles into all the little nooks and crannies, then chill for 30" or so. I did not quite use all the puree; just enough to cover. (Now I'm totally over the whole thing - looks like barf - and decide I had better throw on a pot of Pilaf in case it's completely inedible and I need another side dish!)

This is how it looked when it came out of the fridge after the cornbread absorbed the moisture from the puree. (Yup, still looks kinda gross.)

Tomato-Basil Cornbread Pudding : Hye Thyme Cafe

Bake at 350 for 30-35" until set and lightly browned. Wow, it may have looked gross going in, but it started to smell pretty awesome in the kitchen about 15" in.

Tomato-Basil Cornbread Pudding : Hye Thyme Cafe
Looks a little better now that it has a tan.  ;)

I was going to just scoop it out, but then I got curious and decided to invert it instead, to see what the bottom looked like ...

Tomato-Basil Cornbread Pudding : Hye Thyme Cafe
Oops, the top right stuck - not enough spray.

Tomato-Basil Cornbread Pudding : Hye Thyme Cafe

Tomato-Basil Cornbread Pudding : Hye Thyme Cafe

The verdict? Two out of three of us were VERY pleasantly surprised. The third was a big wuss and afraid to go near it because it smelled like cornbread but looked like a Pineapple Upside Down cake gone horribly wrong. This may not have been what I had in mind (A deep red zesty tomato creation), but it was certainly delicious and will appear on our table again.

What I'll do differently next time? I'm thinking about roasting the tomatoes first, which I think will deepen their color and concentrate their flavor. If not, I'll probably add some tomato paste or a few sun-dried tomatoes. The cornbread and basil were definitely the more prominent flavors here. I'm also thinking about either layering tomato slices on the bottom, or halving cherry tomatoes and standing them around the outside so you'll see the tomatoes once it has been inverted. We'll see...


  1. Chris;
    Ina Garten over at Food Network has a wonderful recipe for tomato pudding that would be good with cornbread instead of regular bread. I trust Ina's recipes, she tests them 15x before publishing them.
    If you do make it let me know how you like it.

    1. Thanks, I'll have to take a look at that one. I think I saw versions from Rachel Ray and Giada D, but neither of those was the one I had seen previously.

  2. I love this idea! I've never tried a savory bread pudding, but tomatoes have got to make it fantastic.

    1. I'm bummed I still can't find that original recipe wanted to refer to. I'll definitely play with this again though. It's good as it is, but I still want to make a more tomatoey version. That's a word, right? ;)


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