Category Archives: Desserts

A Taste of Spring!

The first week of spring here in the Smoky Mountains brought us a couple of snowy days, but now that the weather’s warming up, we’re all coming down with severe cases of spring fever. And one of the best cures we know of is cake! So for our last entry for March – which is also National Flour Month – we offer you our Blueberry and Lemon Cornmeal Cake. Lightened with ricotta cheese and brightened with fresh berries and lemon juice, the batter features not only our freshly ground cornmeal, but also Old Mill’s all-purpose Plain Flour. It makes a simple but stunning addition to an Easter buffet or any other spring or summer occasion. Come autumn, you can easily turn this versatile recipe into a holiday cake by substituting fresh cranberries for the blueberries, similar to our Cranberry Orange Cornmeal Cake we offer online. This cake also freezes well, so if you like to do all your baking at one time and give home-baked items to friends and family, this will be a hit!

Blueberry and Lemon Cornmeal Cake

Makes: 12 to 16 servings


Butter for prepping the pan

2 cups Old Mill Plain Flour

1 cup Old Mill Yellow Cornmeal

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

7 ounces (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1/4 cup Old Mill Pure Maple Syrup

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Grated zest of 1 lemon (1 teaspoon)

Juice of 1 lemon (2 tablespoons)

1 container (15 ounces) whole milk ricotta cheese, about 2 cups

2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, divided use

2 tablespoons granulated sugar


  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter, and place the pan on a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Place the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl, and stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy, 30 seconds. Add the sugar, and beat on medium until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each egg is incorporated, about 20 seconds each. Add the maple syrup, oil, and the grated lemon zest and juice. Blend on medium speed until well combined, 45 seconds.
  4. Turn about a third of the dry ingredients into the batter and blend on low until just incorporated. Add half of the ricotta cheese and blend. Add another third of dry ingredients and blend, then add the rest of the ricotta, and finally the rest of the dry ingredients, blending just to incorporate. Fold 1 1/2 cups of the blueberries into the batter, and blend on low speed to break up the berries a bit, about 30 seconds. Turn the batter into the prepared pan. Scatter the remaining cup of blueberries on top of the batter, and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Place the baking sheet with springform pan in the oven.
  5. Bake until the cake is well browned, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 to 20 minutes. After 1 hour, gently cover the top of the cake with foil to protect it from over-browning. Remove the cake from the oven, and let the cake cool in the pan 20 to 25 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan, and unfasten the sides of the pan. Let the cake cool completely before slicing, about 1 hour. Slice and serve with vanilla ice cream.


Sorghum Apple Bread Pudding



Thick as honey, rich and earthy, sorghum sweetened baked foods before sugar became plentiful and cheap.  Sorghum and apples are a traditional Appalachian combination that’s as old as the mountain South.

Makes 12 servings


3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1/3 cup chopped pecans

Bread mixture: 

4 large eggs

3 cups whole milk

3/4 cup SORGHUM

1/4 cup apple cider or milk

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound day-old OLD MILL HONEY WHEAT BREAD, cut or torn into 2-inch cubes

2 sweet-tart apples, such as Honeycrisp or Fuji, peeled and diced

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1/3 cup chopped pecans

Sorghum Sauce (recipe follows)

  • Prepare topping:  Mix butter and brown sugar in a small bowl until well combined.  Toss in pecans.
  • Prepare bread mixture: Whisk eggs in a large bowl until frothy.  Whisk in milk, sorghum, cider, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.  Add Old Mill Honey Wheat Bread cubes and apples;  stir gently to mix thoroughly.  Let stand 15 minutes, pressing down on bread occasionally and stirring gently to saturate the bread.
  • Preheat oven to 350° F.  Butter a 2-quart rectangular baking dish.  Pour bread mixture into dish. Sprinkle with topping. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
  • Bake until bread pudding, covered, until it is nearly set in the center, about 1 hour.  Remove foil and continue baking until the bread pudding is completely set in the center, 20 to 30 minutes.  Let stand 15 minutes before serving with Sorghum Sauce.

Sorghum  Sauce

Makes 2 cups

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

3/4 cup Sorghum

1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 large egg yolks

1/2 cup bourbon or apple cider

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat; stir in sorghum and brown sugar and salt.  Whisk in egg yolks.  Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar melts and mixture is thickened and just simmering, about 4 minutes.  (Do not boil.) Remove from heat and whisk in the bourbon or cider. If mixture appears curdled, strain through a wire mesh sieve.  Serve warm;  store leftovers in a covered jar in refrigerator 2 weeks.


Smoky Mountain Berry Shortcakes


3 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
3 cups mixed fresh berries
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup water
2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons OLD MILL BISCUIT MIX, divided
Optional: 2 tablespoons cream, 1 teaspoon sugar

Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring 1 cup cream to a boil in a small saucepan; pour over chocolate and let stand 1 minute. Stir until smooth; stir in
2 tablespoons OLD MILL Smoky Mountain Special Preserves. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours.

About 30 minutes before serving, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Combine berries and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in a bowl; toss.

Beat egg yolk, water, and remaining 1 teaspoon sugar in a large bowl with a fork. Add 2 1/4 cups OLD MILL Biscuit Mix; stir just until mixture starts to clump together. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons OLD MILL Biscuit Mix on a work surface; turn dough out on the mix. Gently gather dough into a ball and and knead lightly 3 or 4 times. Pat or roll out to 1-inch thickness. Cut out with a 2 1/2- to 3-inch drinking glass or biscuit cutter. If desired, brush tops with 2 tablespoons cream and sprinkle evenly with 1 teaspoon sugar.

Place, sides touching, on baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, 13 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat whipping cream mixture until stiff peaks form. To serve, split biscuits. Spoon about 2 to 3 teaspoons of the remaining OLD MILL Smoky Mountain Special Preserves on each biscuit bottom, spreading slightly with the back of a spoon; spoon the berry mixture, then the whipped cream mixture on the bottoms, dividing evenly. Lean biscuit tops against the cream.

Makes 5 servings.


Cinnamon Walnut Baked Apples


1 medium apple
2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1 Pigeon River Pottery Apple Baker

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use a sharp knife to cut out a 2-inch wide, 1- to 1 1/2-inch deep cone shape from the top of a medium apple to hollow out a space for filing.

Place apple, stem side up, on Pigeon River Pottery Apple Baker center stand, pushing it firmly onto the center spike. Mix walnuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon; spoon into cavity. Top with butter. Bake until apple is tender when pierced with sharp knife, 25 to 30 minutes.