Basic Rhode Island Johnny Cake Recipe - Dick Donnelly: Saunderstown, RI
1 cup Kenyon’s White Corn Meal - order
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ - 1½ cups boiling water
1. Gradually add between 1¼ - 1½ cups boiling water to about 1 cup of your dry “mix”, mixing with the back of the spoon until all the meal is moistened, and then use the bowl of the spoon to continue mixing. You know the consistency is right when there is a loose “plop” of batter off the spoon.
2. Well oil a hot griddle at 340° - 380°. Use a well-seasoned cast iron griddle or Teflon or T-Fal one. Do not use cast aluminum, or the cakes will stick!
3. Spoon batter on to the griddle - one spoonful to a cake. Tap spoon on the griddle to release batter from spoon and to control the shape of the cake. One adjusts the size of the cake by changing the size of the spoon (Ice tea spoon - small; Tablespoon - larger). Leave cake undisturbed until it becomes brown around the edges and firm - then leave a little longer. Place a few drops of corn oil on top of each cake before turning over. Turn cake over and pat down slightly to keep uniform thickness. This side doesn’t need quite so much time to brown. Don't be afraid to press them down. When done remove to platter.
4. Place several large spoonfuls of softened “whipped” butter (found in the dairy case) into a cup. Add some real maple syrup to the butter and mix very well by slicing the butter with the side of the spoon until mixed, and then stirring until smooth and sauce-like. Spread small amounts of this maple butter on each cooked cake at time of serving using the back of the butter spoon as your spreader.
5. Eat with the fingers and enjoy.
After some practice, the fun begins! Try adding something to the batter, and try adding something to the butter for an endless variety of delicious combinations.
For example, use...
a. Finely grated Orange Zest in the batter & a splash or two of Grande Marnier in the butter
b. Chopped Shrimp or Lobster in the batter & a squirt of Tabasco Sauce in the butter
c. Finely chopped onion in the batter & a small amount of grated Horseradish in the butter
d. For even more ideas, click here.
Johnny Cakes can be served without butter. Try a slight drizzle of Coffee Syrup, Honey, or Molasses. Drizzle a small amount of Molasses on the platter; a fine squiggle will do. Put the cakes on the platter; then drizzle some honey on the tops. Serve warm.
Avoid serving butter and maple syrup on a hot Johnny Cake to first-time eaters, particularly to children, as the taste and texture may surprise or disappoint someone who is expecting a “pancake”. Serve that first cake just plain and be sure to call it “Journey Bread” or “Corn Bread”. Dress it up, later.
Click here for two videos on Rhode Island Johnny Cakes & Kenyon's Grist Mill.