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The Standard Edition Vol. 2, No. 1

The Standard Edition Vol. 2, No. 1

In true, Southern fashion, it's a good story, but cast iron was not actually born in the South.

It almost seems like common knowledge: Cast iron is a thing of the South, as much a part of the region’s sense of place as the fried chicken or corn bread it cooks. Maybe it’s a cliché, but when we think of the pan’s past, we conjure up images of old Appalachian homesteads with fat black skillets pulling biscuits out of the oven or boiling a heap of collards on a rusted-out stove.
But the thing is, cast iron is not a Southern invention.
 
 
 
We unpack the age-old connection between cast iron and upside-down cake.
 
 

We know it well: the glistening rings of canned pineapple, the candy-red maraschino cherries, all placed like a mosaic pattern. Upside-down cake has been a ubiquitous presence at parties and potlucks since the middle of the last century, and the staying power of this charmingly retro dessert comes as no real surprise: a simple, sweet recipe rooted in little more than butter, brown sugar, and tropical fruit.

But, unbeknownst to many, except those few who continue to cook it like their mothers and grandmothers, upside-down cake has been around for much longer than the 1950s, and it has deep ties to cast iron, too.
 
 
 
 
Carlos Greenwood and I attended the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses classes together last year in Baltimore. 10,000 Small Businesses is a program to help entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing access to education, capital and business support services. Carlos secretly bought a 14” Lili cast iron pan from us and brought in his mom’s version of pineapple upside-down cake – recipe below.

Personally, I like the maraschino cherries. My photo of Carlos’ recipe includes the damn cherries. 

Note to Carlos: “How can you make this without those nasty maraschino cherries, man?”

- Dennis
 

PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

Ingredients 

(Recipe fits in 10” Cast Iron Skillet)

Two 8-ounce cans sliced or crushed pineapple in heavy syrup 

8 tablespoons (1 stick) Butter

3/4cup plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 cup cake flour (not self-rising cake flour)

1-1/2 Teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4cup butter-flavored shortening

1/2 cup half and half

1 large egg room temp

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Method

Pre heat oven to 350°

Drain pineapple, save pineapple juice

In 10” Cast Iron Skillet, melt butter enough to cover bottom of pan (approx 3 Tablespoons)

Add brown sugar to cover bottom of pan. Add drained pineapple to cover brown sugar

Sift together flour, baking powder. and salt

Mix shortening, 3/4 cup sugar, 5 tablespoons of pineapple juice, half and half, 1 egg, vanilla 

Beat in the flour mixture, pour over pineapple

Bake approx 35-40 min 

Allow to cool 

With a plate on top of skillet, flip cake onto plate for serving

The End

The Standard Edition Vol. 1, No. 8

The Standard Edition Vol. 1, No. 8

The Science of Cast Iron

Chef Sean Brock Explains it All

Okay, so we’ll tell you up front, this issue of the Standard Edition is going to be the Sean Brock Special. In part, because we love the guy, for his food, for his restaurants, and perhaps most importantly of all, for his big brain.

The award-winning Southern chef has been called many things—farm-to-table hero, Southern culinary revivalist, agricultural anthropologist—and we’ll add one more, which anyone who has eaten at his renowned McCrady’s in Charleston already knows: mad scientist.

We caught up with Brock to ruminate on the science behind the pan.

Southern chef Sean Brock shares the key to cast-iron cornbread.

Sean Brock has been looking at the American South differently these days, less as a large homogenous mass of land beneath the Mason-Dixon Line steeped in the same beloved cooking traditions, and more as a multitude of distinct microregions, each with its own unique stories to tell—and dishes to share.

And few recipes embody this quite like one of the award-winning chef’s own personal favorites, as showcased in his new cookbook, South.

The iconic, comfort food staple of cornbread.

Photo Credit: Netflix, Chef’s Table (Sean Brock) 2019

JIMMY RED CORNBREAD

Recipe courtesy of Sean Brock's latest cookbook: South

Ingredients 

2 cups coarse cornmeal, preferably Geechie Boy Jimmy Red Coarse Cornmeal 
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1½ cups full-fat buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon Rendered Fresh Lard, melted
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Put a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven to preheat for at least 10 minutes.

Method

Combine the cornmeal, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Combine the buttermilk, egg, and ¼ cup of the lard in a small bowl. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just to combine; do not overmix.

Move the skillet from the oven to the stove, placing it over high heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of lard and swirl to coat the skillet. Pour in the batter, distributing it evenly. It should sizzle.

Remove the skillet from the eye of your stove and place back in your preheated oven. Bake the cornbread for about 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm from the skillet.

The Standard Edition Vol. 1, No. 7

The Standard Edition Vol. 1, No. 7

The Incredible Egg 

Wherever you grew up, be it on the Chesapeake Bay or Bayou, there’s a good chance that you ate this egg dish of many names. Whatever your family called it, it was always the same, simple recipe: butter in a pan, a slice of white bread, with its center cut out, and an egg, any egg, cracked and fried inside.

But after all the generations it’s been passed down, the question remains: which came first? Though it looks like we might never know.
 
Texas chef Jess Pryles shares the key to perfectly pan-cooked bacon.

You could say that since Jess Pryles first arrived in Texas more than a decade ago, she’s adopted the Southern mentality of these three simple words: the whole hog.

 After her first taste of bonafide barbecue, the self-taught Australian chef would return to the Lone Star State many times—to visit butchers’ shops, to tour slaughterhouses, to take science classes at Texas A&M University—absorbing everything she could about red meat.
 
 
 

Dates n' Doves Poppers

Recipe courtesy of Jess Pryles' cookbook: Hardcore Carnivore

Ingredients 

7 whole dove breasts
7 strips of bacon (not thick cut)
7 large medjool dates, pitted
1 teaspoon 5 spice powder
2 teaspoons Hardcore Carnivore Camo seasoning
1 Butterpat pan

Method

1. Start by prepping the dove breasts. Make sure they are clean from cartilage and shot, then separate the breasts down the middle into individual lobes, giving you 14 total pieces. 
2. Cut the bacon strip in half (perpendicular - a shorter wrap means no chewy/floppy inner layer of bacon). Also cut the dates in half along their length.
3. Assemble a popper. Lay a piece of dove on one end of the bacon half, then season with a pinch of five spice and a slightly more generous pinch of Camo seasoning. Lay the date piece on top of the dove, then wrap the bacon around the filling to complete. Repeat steps with remaining ingredients.
4. Heat a Butterpat skillet over medium flame, about 3-5 minutes. I like to use a tiny spritz of canola oil before I start, but this is optional.
5. Place the poppers in the pan, bacon seam side down. Lower the flame to medium low. Cook undisturbed 5-7 minutes. Flip and cook a further 5-7 minutes on the other side. 
6. For an extra crispy finish, place the pan in a preheated 375f oven for a further 8-10 minutes, being mindful this will result in ‘well-done’ dove.
7. Remove poppers from pan, wait a minute or two for the ‘bacon magma grease’ window to cool, then enjoy immediately!