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Food Network Favorites: Piggy Pudding

I was going to test 2 more recipes from the Giada De Laurentiis chapter in Food Network Favorites, but to be honest, I got kind of bored, so I'm moving on. And next up is Paula Deen, the Food Network's down-home, Southern-fried queen. If you're looking for healthy meals, this chapter is definitely not the one to turn to. In the Q&A page at the front of her chapter, Deen says that the 3 ingredients she can't be without in the kitchen are butter, mayonnaise, and cream cheese. And that's no exaggeration.

This recipe as originally written is a disappointment, even though it's loaded up with sausage and syrup. The ingredients are very simple: pork breakfast links, sliced apples, cornbread batter, and syrup. You layer the sausages and apples in a baking dish, pour the cornbread batter over the top, bake it, and then serve it with maple syrup. So, from the word "pudding" in the title, I was expecting that the sausage and apples would be suspended in the cornbread, and that you would cut out squares which become pudding-like when soaked with maple syrup. I guess my expectations were wrong, because that's not what I got.

Because the recipe calls for such a small package of cornbread mix (only 7.5 oz.), there's not enough batter to hold the apples and sausage together. There isn't even enough batter to cover the tops of the apples completely, and what comes out of the oven is a loose mix of links and half-baked apple slices, some with a wafer-thin smidge of cornbread crumbs on them. Now, I'll freely admit that the only reason I was expecting something different was because of the word "pudding." There isn't a picture of the finished dish, and nowhere in her instructions does Deen indicate that the dish with be a cohesive casserole. But I have to say that what I was expecting makes a lot more sense. What's the point of a dish of sausage links, apple slices, and a few cornbread crumbs?

The idea behind this recipe is good, and if the proportions make more sense, it's a very good brunch or breakfast casserole. I've offered 2 modified recipes below; one for a smaller 8-inch dish, and one for a larger 9-by-13-inch dish. These were truly "puddings," in my estimation. The cornbread holds the sausage and apples together and becomes deliciously moist when syrup is poured over the top. Paula Deen's original recipe, with its weird proportions, is at the bottom of the page, for comparison.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: about 35 minutes
Yield: varies, see recipe

For an 8-inch dish, serving 4 to 6:
8 links pork breakfast sausage (use brown sugar or maple-flavored variety, if you like)
Butter, for greasing
1 or 2 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
8.5-oz. package corn muffin mix, such as Jiffy, prepared according to package directions
1 cup maple syrup, for serving
Fresh sage leaves, for garnish (if desired)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cook the sausages in a skillet over medium-high heat until done, piercing with a fork to let out the fat. Drain on paper towels and arrange in a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Layer the sliced apples on top. Pour the cornbread batter over the top and bake until the cornbread is done, about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with warm maple syrup and sage leaves.


For a 9-by-13-inch dish, serving 8 to 10:
16 links pork breakfast sausage (use brown sugar or maple-flavored variety, if you like)
Butter, for greasing
3 or 4 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 packages (8.5-oz. each) corn muffin mix, such as Jiffy, prepared according to package directions
1 1/2 cups maple syrup, for serving
Fresh sage leaves, for garnish (if desired)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cook the sausages in a skillet over medium-high heat until done, piercing with a fork to let out the fat. Drain on paper towels and arrange in a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Layer the sliced apples on top. Pour the cornbread batter over the top and bake until the cornbread is done, about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with warm maple syrup and sage leaves.


Original Recipe, from Food Network Favorites:
16 links pork breakfast sausage
Butter, for greasing
4 or 5 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
7.5-oz. package corn muffin mix, prepared according to package directions
1 cup maple syrup, for serving
Fresh sage leaves, for garnish (if desired)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Cook the sausages in a skillet over medium-high heat until done, piercing with a fork to let out the fat. Drain on paper towels and arrange in a greased 9-inch square baking dish. Layer the sliced apples on top. Pour the cornbread batter over the top and bake until the cornbread is done, about 30 minutes. Serve with warm maple syrup and sage leaves. Serves 4.

 

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©2005 Colleen Flippo. All rights reserved. Contact the author.