By Rosie Hawthorne on November 16, 2020
I have to rate Thanksgiving as my favorite holiday for several reasons – gifts are neither expected nor exchanged and food is paramount. And as you know, I’m all about the food.
Thanksgiving feast is always grand, but I must admit I enjoy the day after just as much, if not more – all that food is still available, and all the work has already been done. So, for the post-Thanksgiving celebration, I want to add a little sparkle to the mix and do just a bit of prep work for something special – a sweet and light corn pudding that I think of as a hybrid dish. It’s somewhere between a pudding and a soufflé and it can serve either as another flavorsome side dish. Or, with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, as a non-traditional dessert. Or, with assorted fruits, as a breakfast dish, However you serve it, it’s a special treat for a special day.
The recipe here makes enough for three 8-ounce ramekins, but it can easily be doubled. I’ve made these several times with both canned corn and fresh corn and guess what. I prefer the fresh corn cut off the cob. The pudding is smoother and tastes, well, fresher. If you’re using canned or frozen corn, drain it well and pat dry. And save those cobs. I have plans for them.
Prepare ramekins: Generously butter ramekins and sprinkle in sugar, turning to coat. Tap out excess. Place on baking sheet.
In a small bowl: Combine 1 tsp lemon zest with 1 TB sugar. Mix together and save it for sprinkling on top of puddings right before they go into the oven.
In a small blender: Combine corn, heavy cream, and salt. Pulse until smooth.
In a medium sauce pan: Whisk together the flour (¼ cup) and sugar (2 TB). Add puréed mixture to flour and sugar in saucepan. Set over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly about 6 minutes, until mixture forms a shiny ball. Remove from heat and stir in butter, a small piece at a time until fully incorporated. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Beat in egg yolk, vanilla, and 2 tsp zest.
In a stand mixer with whisk attachment: Whip egg whites on medium speed until light and foamy. Gradually whip in remaining 2 TB sugar until whites hold soft peaks. Do not overbeat. Using a spatula, fold ¼ of the whites into the corn mixture until just a few streaks remain to lighten the mixture. Gently fold in the remaining whites, being careful not to deflate them.
Divide the mixture evenly among the three ramekins. Run a finger along the inside edge of each ramekin to create a small channel to aid in rising. Sprinkle each evenly with the lemon/sugar mixture.
Bake the puddings in a 400° oven about 12 minutes or until golden on top. Transfer the ramekins to serving dishes and dust with powdered sugar.
You know what? This would be a sweet change for breakfast and excellent with some fruit on it. I can taste maybe blueberries or blackberries.
If you used fresh corn for the puddings, then you’re going to have some corncobs leftover. We need to put them to use instead of throwing them away, so I’m making a corn chowder, cooking the cobs with the rest of the ingredients to infuse a little more corn flavor into the mix.
Melt butter over medium heat in medium-sized soup pot. Add in ham, onion, potatoes, and celery and sauté for about 3 minutes. Pour in vegetable stock and add in corn cobs and thyme. Bring to simmer, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook at bare simmer for about 45 minutes. Remove cobs and thyme sprigs. Add in kernels and cook another 10-15 minutes.
Check consistency of your soup. I wanted mine a bit thicker so I’m using a French technique to achieve that. The method uses beurre manié which means “kneaded butter.” Simply mix by hand equal parts softened butter and flour, in this case 2 TB each. When you have a uniform paste, add a teaspoon of the mixture at a time into your soup and whisk until it has completely dissolved. You may not need to use the whole amount. Continue cooking a few minutes until the raw taste of the flour has gone. You have thickening but no clumping because the butter melts and evenly disperses the flour particles, which swell and thicken your soup as it simmers, with the bonus effect of adding a velvety, sleek luster to the finished product.
Finally, pour in the cream and heat through.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Ladle soup into bowls and serve with toast or croutons, hot sauce or salsa, if desired, minced red bell pepper, and snipped parsley and chives.
Rosie Note: I’m assuming here that you have leftover ham from Thanksgiving and I’m offering another solution for “what to do with all this food.” If you don’t have ham, you could certainly substitute bacon. Just fry it up, then set it aside, and use some of the grease in place of the butter for sautéing the vegetables. Sprinkle reserved bacon crumbles on top of soup when serving.
For any culinary questions, feel free to e-mail me at RosieHawthorne@gmail.com. Bon appétit! For more Rosie’s Recipes on the Outer Banks Voice click here