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Thursday, August 23, 2012 - Page updated at 09:30 p.m.
A pancake brings corn and berries together
By MELISSA CLARK
The New York Times
At the beginning of the summer, my farm share inundated me with bowling-ball-size cabbages for six weeks. I made mountains of slaw and then just started giving the cabbages away.
Now, in late summer, it's been an onslaught of sweet corn in the Northeast. Bags and bags and bags of ears, every week since July.
I like corn fine. My husband likes corn. Last year, our preschooler loved corn, too. Naturally this year she rejects it, possibly because she knows how badly I want her to help us eat the stuff.
This reluctance on her part has had one very good effect. It's forced me to expand my repertory. Now, instead of just simply boiling and buttering, or showcasing the kernels in salads and chowders, I've been disguising them. Corn pudding. Corn souffle. And in this recipe, slipping the kernels into a baked corn pancake that puffs noticeably in the oven.
The pancake is similar to a recipe that ran in The New York Times in 1966 called David Eyre's pancake, named for a man whose fame seems to rest mainly on this tasty invention.
My parents must have served that pancake at hundreds of brunches when I was growing up. If we didn't have bagels and lox, we had David Eyre's pancake.
It not only was a cinch to make, but it also could be whipped up with pantry staples when there wasn't much in the house and it was too cold or rainy to go shopping. It was impressive enough for company yet easy enough to throw together for the kids. We all loved it.
Here, in addition to the corn kernels I wanted to use up, I stirred in some cornmeal to highlight the corn factor. Because cornmeal can make things heavy and I feared the pancake might become too dense, I increased the number of eggs in the batter to help it rise and puff.
The first time I made this, I kept the batter ingredients to a minimum and topped it, Eyre style, with powdered sugar and lemon. It reminded me a little of spoon bread, but with a lighter texture than most. We all devoured it, even my daughter.
In this version, I mixed in a little black pepper to contrast with the sweetness of the corn, and then simmered together a speedy blackberry syrup to drizzle on top. The recipe is versatile enough to make over and over, and I'm sure it will take me through the end of corn season.
Then when fall arrives, I'll just need to figure out what to do with all the kale I'll have on hand.
I'll let you know.
PUFFY CORN PANCAKE WITH BLACKBERRY SAUCE
Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup fine cornmeal
5 large eggs
1/3 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons honey
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¾ cup fresh corn kernels (from 1 to 2 ears)
2 cups fresh blackberries
3 tablespoons sugar
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place butter in the bottom of a 2-quart gratin dish. Place in the oven and cook until butter begins to bubble, 5 to 7 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together flour and cornmeal. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry. Whisk in honey, salt and pepper. Stir in the corn. Remove dish from the oven and pour in the batter evenly. Return to the oven and bake until the pancake rises and is dark brown around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. The center of the pancake should also be golden brown.
3. While the pancake cooks, make the sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine blackberries and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook until berries are soft and syrupy. Remove from heat and serve warm, spooned over pancake in the gratin dish.
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