Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Corn cookies

Have I mentioned how much my parents love corn? One of the major downsides of being a delinquent blogger over a very looong period of time is that I can never remember what I've already talked about it and I can't be bothered to check. Well, whatever the case, my parents' love for corn is so prodigious, it bears repeating.

Every summer, when the Chilliwack peaches and cream is at its finest, they team up with the people next door and host a corn roast on the street. People young and old timidly emerge from their homes and gather in an odd little walkway/driveway to make small talk with their neighbours and gorge on butter-soaked corn. My parents have been organizing it for years and people are surprisingly into it. I say surprisingly because the corn roast is not my favourite. I'm far less gregarious than my parents and one cob of corn is more than enough for me.


If they started serving corn cookies for dessert...

Corn Cookies
225 grams butter, at room temperature
300 grams sugar
1 egg
225 grams flour
45 grams corn flour*
65 grams freeze-dried corn powder**
3/4 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

* Note that corn flour is not the same thing as cornstarch. I used Bob's Red Mill Corn Flour, which is pretty easy to find in most urban grocery stores these days.

** My friend P. discovered little 85-gram packets of freeze-dried corn at a local Asian grocer. I ground it up good in my food processor and used the resulting powder in place of the freeze-dried corn powder mentioned above.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg, and continue beating for 7 to 8 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, corn flour, corn powder, baking powder, baking soda. Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until the dough comes together (about 1 minute).

Divvy the dough into 1/3-cup portions on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten the domes. Wrap the pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 week.
When you're ready to go, preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) and line another baking sheet with parchment paper.

Arrange the chilled dough on the baking sheet, leaving 10 cm (4 in) between balls. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the cookies puff, crackle and spread. You want them to be bright yellow in the centre and golden brown around the edge.
 Cool the cookies completely on the pans before storing them in an airtight container. Store them at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Source: Christina Tosi's Corn Cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar, as posted on The Kitchn.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Lime sherbet

While most of North America is slowly emerging from a polar vortex-induced hibernation, I'm the West Coast jerk jogging outside in shorts and writing about frozen desserts. If this is what climate change means for Vancouver, we're making off like bandits.

As it happens, this lime sherbet was inspired by another West Coaster: Tracy of Shutterbean.com and JtB podcast fame. Her tangerine sherbet had me craving an orange creamsicle something fierce, which got me thinking about this dreamy orange smoothie I used to drink in university, which got me thinking about the ham/apple/cheddar sandwich I used to order with it, which got me out the door and on the way to the grocery store for sandwich fixings.

Back in the kitchen, when the sandwich crumbs had settled, I realized I'd forgotten to pick up some tangerines. Lucky for me, a bit of fridge sleuthing uncovered a crisper full of neglected limes well past their prime and headed for a mid-life crisis. We all won in the end.

Lime sherbet
Having never made sherbet before, I stuck to the original Gourmet recipe quite closely. I did, however, play around with the butterfat of the milk and yogurt. What you see is what I used.
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/4 cups white sugar, split
1 1/2 cups 6% cream
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lime zest
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)
2 cups plain 2% yogurt

In a large saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch and 1 cup of sugar. Slowly whisk in the milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking often, over medium heat. Then simmer, whisking occasionally, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Add the hot milk in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly.

Transfer the mixture back to the large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and a thermometer reads degrees 77 degrees Celsius (170 degrees Fahrenheit). Don't let it boil!

Pour the custard—congratulations, you made custard!—into a clean, medium-sized bowl. Whisk in the lime zest, lime juice and yogurt. Chill the mixture until cold.

Process the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. Scoop the sherbet into an airtight storage container and freeze until firm (at least 4 hours).

Source: Lime-Yogurt Sherbet from Epicurious.com, originally published in Gourmet in May 2001.