Sweet Corn Spoonbread

From Cook's Country | August/September 2008
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Why this recipe works:

To replicate the fluffy, soufflé-style Sweet Corn Spoonbread from our childhood, we found soaking the cornmeal in milk for a few minutes before simmering eliminated grit. Beating the egg whites with cream of tartar made for a more stable foam and a higher rise. Sautéing the kernels in butter… read more

To replicate the fluffy, soufflé-style Sweet Corn Spoonbread from our childhood, we found soaking the cornmeal in milk for a few minutes before simmering eliminated grit. Beating the egg whites with cream of tartar made for a more stable foam and a higher rise. Sautéing the kernels in butter helped intensify their flavor, as did adding a little sugar, salt, and cayenne pepper. Steeping the cooked corn in milk before adding it to the cornmeal mixture spread the deep, sweet flavor of sautéed corn throughout the spoonbread. To remedy the chewy texture, we pureed the corn and milk in the blender for a silky mixture that resembled (and tasted) like cream of corn soup. Incorporated into the spoonbread, this “corn milk" produced a light, creamy texture and sweet corn taste.

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Serves 6

You will need 3 or 4 ears of corn to yield 2 cups of kernels. Frozen corn can be substituted for the fresh, provided it is thawed and well drained.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups corn kernels (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Instructions

  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 1 1/2-quart soufflé dish or 8-inch-square baking dish. Whisk cornmeal and 3/4 cup milk in bowl until combined; set aside.

    2. Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook corn until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in remaining milk, sugar, salt, and cayenne and bring to boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let mixture steep 15 minutes.

    3. Transfer warm corn mixture to blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return corn mixture to pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and add cornmeal mixture, whisking constantly, until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes; transfer to large bowl and cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Once mixture is cool, whisk in egg yolks until combined.

    4. With electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Whisk one-third of whites into corn mixture, then gently fold in remaining whites until combined. Scrape mixture into prepared dish and transfer to oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until spoonbread is golden brown and risen above rim of dish, about 45 minutes. Serve immediately.

    Individual Spoonbreads: To make individual spoonbreads, prepare recipe as directed and divide batter among 6 greased 7-ounce ramekins. Arrange ramekins on rimmed baking sheet and bake as directed, reducing cooking time to 30 to 35 minutes.

Detail sfs cornspoonbread 0008 279255
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