Monday, August 25, 2008
Blueberry Corn Custard
I mentioned in a recent post that with the abundance of locally grown blueberries that I had been given, I hoped to make a blueberry corn custard, a unusual dessert made with fresh blueberries and corn that I had seen in "Luscious Berry Desserts" by Lori Longbotham. I wasn't sure how a mix of a fruit and a vegetable would taste as a dessert, but I was feeling brave so decided to make it, even though I got some funny looks from some members of my family. I have had blueberries in corn muffins and I think there's a special affinity between the two foods. As it turned out, the blueberry corn custard was a lovely delicate custard with a sweet corn taste and the luscious blueberries added color, plus an intense fruit flavor to contrast with the corn. I would definitely use fresh white corn kernels and ripe blueberries from the produce section or a local farmers' market in this dish.
Lemon verbena, my favorite herb, is added to the whole milk and steeped along with lemon zest. Roughly pureeing the fresh corn kernels distributes more of the corn flavor throughout the custard. The custard is baked in a bain marie, to keep a crust from forming on the custard before it's cooked throughout. A bain marie is basically a water bath and doesn't require fancy equipment, just a deep pan for the water and a smaller casserole or pot for the custard. Cheesecakes are often cooked in a bain marie to keep the interior of the cake from forming deep cracks while baking.
Blueberry Corn Custard
1 3/4 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
8 lemon verbena leaves, washed and dried
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup fresh white corn kernels
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
3 large eggs
1 cup ripe blueberries, preferably smaller ones, washed and picked over
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish. Put a kettle on to boil for the water bath and have ready an 8x12 baking pan.
Bring milk, lemon zest and lemon verbena to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and let steep 5 minutes.Strain mixture through a sieve into a large bowl. Let cool, then add heavy cream. Set aside.
Pulse the corn in a food processor until roughly chopped. Set aside.
With an electric mixer set on medium in a medium bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar, flour and salt, scraping bowl down occasionally, until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Add the milk mixture and whisk until smooth. Gently stir in corn and blueberries.
Transfer mixture to baking dish and place in 8x12 baking pan. Place the pans in the oven and add boiling water into the large baking pan until liquid comes about halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
Bake 50-60 minutes until top is lightly browned and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer pan to rack to cool. Serve slightly warm, not hot. I prefer my custards on the cold side. If the custard is too warm, it tends to look messy.
Gadget by The Blog Doctor.