So this is it: we’ve reached bake no. 40, in other words half way round the world. To celebrate, here’s a bake that’s truly from half way round the world: Pitcairn Island, roughly equidistant from New Zealand and Chile. It’s a tiny island which is truly in the middle of nowhere, so much so that you can’t a can’t even fly there: cargo boat is your only option. The island’s main trade is conducted by a dangerous looking process of taking goods out in improbably small canoes and either shinning up the steep sides of the cargo vessels or sending the goods up by pulley. Pitcairn is most famous as the place where the Bounty mutineers fetched up, so lots of the people are called Christian (Fletcher Christian was the leader of the Mutiny).
Not many people own a copy of the Pitcairn Island Cookbook, by Irma Christian, but my wife and I do, because our writer friend Dea Birkett went there in the 1990s and wrote a book, Serpent in Paradise, about her travels, including the dark side of what she found. The book reveals tge Pitcairn diet to be generally incredibly high in sugar, so I’ve chosen a recipe that’s atypical in not having much sugar at all. Essentially, it’s a fairly standard cornbread, but with the South Seas twist of using coconut milk instead of water to bind your dough together: this happens to make it really delicious, so it’s going to be my cornbread of choice from now on. Having said which, I’d probably go half-half cornmeal and plain flour rather than the 1:3 in Irma’s recipe – which is a tad erratic, by the way, so I’ve made a few critical changes.
- 170g cornmeal (I used coarse, but fine will work also)
- 420g plain flour
- 10g baking powder
- 8g salt
- 2 tbs sunflower or corn oil
- 400g tin coconut milk
- Preheat oven to 200℃ fan
- Grease a small, rectangular baking tin
- Mix all the dry ingredients
- Pour in the oil and coconut milk, mix until you have a smooth dough
- Add your dough to the tin and smooth it out. If you want to avoid a cracked ridge in the middle, score the dough with a sharp knife or razor (I didn’t bother)
- Bake for around 40 minutes (use the usual test that a skewer should come out dry)
- Cool on a rack
That’s it! A delicious, easy, low sugar bake to celebrate the half way point of this series!