Cast-iron skillets have been around for centuries, but with the introduction of lighter, non-stick cookware, its popularity waned, and today, many people are hesitant to give this tool a try. It’s heavy and a bit cumbersome to clean. However, cast-iron skillets come with benefits, too. They’re oven-safe and hold heat for considerable lengths of time, ensuring the food stays warm. Plus, a beautiful dish on display in one of these skillets is both unique and appetizing.
Whether you own one or need to buy one, whip out your cast-iron skillet and put it to good use whipping up one of these delicious dessert recipes sourced from seasoned food pros.
3 Cast-Iron Skillet Dessert Recipes
Brown Butter & Vanilla Bean Apple Tart
This cast-iron skillet dessert is courtesy of Amber Wilson of For the Love of the South, and it comes from her cookbook For the Love of the South: Recipes and Stories from My Southern Kitchen. “I use a mix of apples like Honeycrisp and Braeburn [apples] for this tart, and for the pastry, I love using Dufour’s puff pastry,” Amber explains. “It’s heavenly!” Take a look and we bet you’ll agree!
Brown Butter and Vanilla Bean Apple Tart
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds only (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 1 sheet puff pastry thawed
- 4 medium-sized apples cored, sliced 1/8” thick
- 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 large egg
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- In a small cast-iron skillet over low heat, add the butter and allow it to slowly melt and become lightly brown in color and smell nutty. Take off the heat and add vanilla. Set aside.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough roughly into a 12-inch circle. Place the crust into a 9- to 10-inch cast-iron skillet fitted with parchment paper, allowing the sides of the dough to hang over the edges of the skillet.
- Arrange the apple slices onto the prepared pastry, fanning slightly as you go. Brush with the vanilla-infused brown butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar and sea salt.
- Fold up the edges of the tart over the sides of the apples.
- Beat the egg in a small dish and brush the sides of the tart with the egg wash. Refrigerate the tart for 30 minutes.
- Bake the tart at 425F for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 375F for 30 minutes. Allow the tart to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
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Southern Banana Pudding
For Shelly Maynard of the blog Lynchburg Mama, cast iron and banana pudding are the perfect pair. Her Southern banana pudding is perfect for the upcoming holiday season, and with a box of Nilla Wafers, whole milk and a dash of vanilla extract, it’s an easy dish to whip up for your gathering. Plus, Shelly says using a cast-iron skillet ensures the pudding is cooked at the correct temperature to produce the perfect taste.
Cast-iron Southern Banana Pudding
- 3 large eggs large, separated
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp banana-flavored extract optional
- 1/2 tsp rum-flavored extract optional
- 1 box Nilla Wafers
- 6 ripe bananas
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- Separate your egg whites and yolks. Set whites aside.
- In your cast-iron pan, whisk 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/3 cup flour, and 1/4 tsp of salt with 3 cups of milk.
- Whisk in egg yolks until mixture is smooth.
- Cook using a wooden spoon, stirring frequently to avoid burning on low-medium heat.
- Continue cooking, continuously stirring, until custard is thick (approximately 20 to 25 minutes).
- Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla and flavored extracts until smooth.
- Set aside and allow custard to cool. It will thicken as it sits.
- Layer Nilla Wafers in the bottom and around the edge of a 10-inch or 12-inch cast-iron skillet.
- Slice bananas and cover wafers.
- Pour custard on top. Continue layers until all of the custard is used.
How to Prepare the Meringue
- Beat the egg whites until smooth and frothy.
- Add 1/8 tsp of cream of tartar, increasing speed so the frothy mixture creates peaks.
- Slowly add 1/4 cup of granulated sugar.
- Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
- Spread meringue on top of layered skillet.
- Using a fork, create peaked swirls in the meringue.
- Place skillet under broiler for a few minutes. Keep an eye on it because it can easily burn! Allow peaks and edges to brown like you would a marshmallow.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Grain-free Blueberry Pear Crisp
This grain-free blueberry pear crisp recipe comes from Lyn Corinne Liner of food blog A Sprinkling of Cayenne. Not only is this recipe low-maintenance, but you can also use pears that may be oddly shaped or a bit brown. Plus, as a bonus, this dish is both grain- and gluten-free.
Grain-free Blueberry Pear Crisp
Blueberry Pear Crisp Filling
- 1 pint fresh blueberries
- 1 1/2 cups fresh pears peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 tsp cassava flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp lemon zest
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Grain-free Blueberry Pear Crisp Topping
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup cassava flour
- 1 cup pecans
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp fresh ginger
- 4 tbsp chilled butter cut into small pieces
- Preheat oven to 375F.
For the Filling
- Pour all ingredients in a large glass bowl. (Blueberries may stain a plastic bowl.)
- Toss until well-combined.
- Pour filling ingredients into a well-greased 10-inch cast-iron skillet or baking dish.
For the Topping
- Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender.
- Pulse for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until all ingredients are well-combined.
- Spoon the topping over the filling.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned.
- Serve immediately with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Enjoy these delicious dishes!
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