Ozark Skillet Cake
Named after the Ozarks region of Missouri, Ozark pudding caught on in popularity in the 1950s when Bess Truman revealed that she often made this dessert for her husband, President Harry S. Truman, and shared the recipe for the 1948 edition of The Congressional Club Cookbook. The original recipe is something like a clafoutis, an almost custardlike batter just barely holding together a mess of dried fruit, apple bits, and nuts aplenty, a celebration of native midwestern ingredients. I’ve tweaked this idea to make it a little more cakelike and sliceable, but still packed with all sorts of goodies, just the thing for a lazy fall or winter weekend.
- Unsalted butter for skillet
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 1 medium-size pear or apple, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
Position a rack to the center of the oven and preheat it to 350°F. Butter a 10-inch cast-iron skillet.
In a small, microwave-safe bowl, combine the cranberries and ¼ cup/57 g of water. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 45 seconds. Keep the bowl covered and set aside while you prepare the batter.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the eggs, brown and granulated sugar, and vanilla. Beat on high speed until light in color and tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt over the batter. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the batter.
Drain the cranberries and pat them dry with paper towels. Fold the cranberries and three-quarters of the pecans into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared skillet. Top with the pears or apples, then sprinkle with the remaining pecans. Bake until the cake is puffed and golden, about 35 minutes—a toothpick inserted into the center may come out quite moist, but not wet with batter, as the cake will continue to bake in the hot pan. Let cool until just warm and serve with lots of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Reprinted with permission from MIDWEST MADE © 2019 by Shauna Sever, Running Press