Coconut and Honey Cornbread with Orange and Pecan Salsa

I have had a real obsession with cornbread, since I discovered it a few months ago at Milk, one of south London’s best local brunch spots. Once you’ve had a heavily buttered slab toasted, to golden-crusted perfection, and piled high with smashed avocado and poached eggs there is no going back.

Naturally Milk won’t share the recipe, (the lovable b*stards) so us cornbread affectionados keep coming back. Their tactic worked at the beginning. In I’d come, almost weekly, eager like a kid waiting to get their sugar fix. The only trouble is that for me its not enough for me to enjoy a good thing, I wanna know how to make it and share it with you all as well. So over the last few months, my housemate and I have got to work and perfected our very own version, so anyone can enjoy the delicious (and healthy, i might add) bread, that has transformed our breakfasts!

Coconut and Honey Cornbread with Orange and Pecan Salsa, Tess Ward, Recipe, Cornbread, Dairy free, Vegan, Eggs, Sugar free, brunch, Breakfast

As I mentioned, cornbread pairs wonderfully with savoury dishes.. poached eggs and smashed avocado, or even with bacon, a fried egg and maple syrup. Here, however I have taken a different route and served it with sweet toppings as a toasted brioche, or french toast alternative. Segments of orange, honeyed-roasted pecan nuts, orange-zest scented creme fraiche and a scattering of cinnamon makes for a lovely lightly spiced, winter fruit option. I love the tang of the soured creme fraiche agains the sweet orange and honey pecans, but if you want to keep the dish dairy-free, you can omit the creme fraiche, or swap to coconut yoghurt.

Coconut and Honey Cornbread with Orange and Pecan Salsa, Tess Ward, Recipe, Cornbread, Dairy free, Vegan, Eggs, Sugar free, brunch, Breakfast

This recipe, unlike the sugar and dairy heavy one at milk is not only gluten, but dairy and sugar free too. I have also kept the flavours of the cornbread neutral, adding no spice or dried fruit, the only sweetness coming from the coconut and a little honey. This allows it to work in both savoury or sweet dishes.

Coconut and Honey Cornbread with Orange and Pecan Salsa, Tess Ward, Recipe, Cornbread, Dairy free, Vegan, Eggs, Sugar free, brunch, Breakfast

Coconut and Honey Cornbread Recipe (gf)

Makes 1 loaf

I might mention that the two large eggs in the recipe, really means LARGE ones. The eggs bind the bread/ cake mixture together, so using small ones will result in a crumbly cornbread. If in doubt opt for three small ones.

  • 150g (1 cup) gluten-free cornmeal
  • 100g (1 cup) gluten free flour
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) honey
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2 large eggs
  • 230ml (1 cup) thin coconut milk
  • 35g coconut oil, melted

Method

Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius / 350ºF. Lightly grease an large loaf tin with oil.

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Separate the eggs and add the egg yolk and the remaining in to a bowl and whisk together until the batter is smooth.

In another large bowl, whip the egg white until they achieve soft peaks and then fold into the egg whites. Make the whites are fully mixed in the pour the batter into into the prepared loaf tin.

Bake the cornbread for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly golden brown. A cake tester inserted in centre of cornbread should come out clean.

Remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool fully before slicing.

Cornbread is at its best fresh. So to store it, wrap the cornbread well in plastic and keep in a sealed tupperware and it will last for 2-3 days.

Coconut and Honey Cornbread with Orange and Pecan Salsa, Tess Ward, Recipe, Cornbread, Dairy free, Vegan, Eggs, Sugar free, brunch, BreakfastCoconut and Honey Cornbread with Orange and Pecan Salsa, Tess Ward, Recipe, Cornbread, Dairy free, Vegan, Eggs, Sugar free, brunch, Breakfast

Alternately: I made this particular cornbread in the Sage by Heston Custom Bread Maker, using the yeast free setting. Using the modify settings, I cooked the loaf at 150 degrees celsius, for 45 minutes, which gave it a wonderful golden crumb.

For the Toasted Cornbread with Orange and Pecans

  • 1 orange, cut in wedges
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 100g creme fraiche
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon honey, plus more to serve
  • 30g pecans, roughly chopped
  • a pinch sea salt
  • a pinch of cinnamon

Method

Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius, gas mark 5

Add the honey to a bowl with the pecans, a pinch of salt and a pinch of cinnamon. Toss to combine and then place the nuts on a baking tray to roast and go golden for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Cut the rind off the orange, then cut it into segments and in half again, so its roughly diced. 

Place a frying pan on the stove, over a medium flame. Cut a thick slice of your cooled cornbread and spread the coconut oil over both sides. Add the cornbread to the pan and toast for 2-3 minute on each side, or until golden.

Once cooked, place the cornbread on a plate, top with a heaped dollop of creme fraiche, half the orange segments and half the pecans. Finish with a final zesting of orange and a dash of cinnamon.

Enjoy warm, preferably with a big cup of tea. Earl grey for me, if your asking.

Coconut and Honey Cornbread with Orange and Pecan Salsa, Tess Ward, Recipe, Cornbread, Dairy free, Vegan, Eggs, Sugar free, brunch, Breakfast

3 Comments
  1. Hi, Tess!
    I am a huge fan of you and your “blog+book”. I just baked this cornbread today but I must admit that mine turned out to be a “corncake” in a loaf tin. I used the measurements in grams… Could there have been any mistake by converting cups to grams? Or there’s just flour missing in the recipe?
    Looking forward to hearing from you!

      1. Thanks for the quick reply, Tess!
        Yes I did, a blend of buckwheat and rice flour and tapioca starch… Bad choice?
        I know it’s not supposed to be exactly a bread, but mine has no golden crust and it doesn’t crumb when you slice it. It’s delicious but… “so fluffy I am gonna die!” (as Agnes from Despicable Me would say). That’s why I thought I did sth wrong.

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