Fresh Sweet Corn Maple Cornbread

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Land’s Sake gets our corn from Brigham Farms every morning right after it has been picked. It’s a real treat to be able to get corn that’s picked so fresh, because as soon as corn comes off the stalk, the sugars start turning into starches. This is the reason most corn you’d buy in a grocery store has been bred over the years to be super sweet corn with less nutritional value: it still has to be sweet a week or two after picking. We don’t have that problem. We just have good corn picked hours before you buy it. With all of the beautiful sweet corn we’re getting at the Farm Stand, there’s no reason not to stretch it as much as we can.

One of those ways is to turn four ears into some of the best corn bread ever. Using real corn gives the bread an airy, moist sweetness that just can’t be found in cornmeal-only bread. Let’s get this straight, though: this isn’t southern-style corn bread. This is for us northerners who are proud of both our real sweet corn and our real maple syrup.

This cornbread takes a smidgen more time and effort than just tossing together some cornmeal and flour, but it is so worth it.  In a blind taste test, everyone preferred the bread made with real corn. Give it a try and see for yourself!

Tips for buying fresh corn:

  • Don’t husk the corn until right before you use it! Seriously. We see this all the time, and then people ask why their corn was starchy or tough or wrinkly by the time it got cooked. The husk is the protective jacket that locks in the freshness. As soon as the husk comes off, it’s like being outside without a jacket in Alaska in February: the clock is ticking to get it into some heat before it just dies of exposure.
  • The same goes for peeking! Peeling back the husk will, in this example, still give the corn some tragic “frost bite.” Feel the kernels through the husk with your fingers. In this case, we encourage you to touch, don’t look.
  • Use the corn as soon as you can. Don’t buy it on Saturday and wait until Thursday to use it. The corn won’t be nearly as sweet and delicious.
  • Don’t discard the cob! Especially if you’re shaving the kernels off for a side dish or salad. You can use the cobs to make a corn stalk that is absolutely wonderful.

Now, onto the cornbread. Obviously, Land’s Sake Maple Syrup is the best way to go here. There are two options for cooking the cornbread: with a 9 inch cast iron skillet or a 9 inch cake pan.

 

Fresh Sweet Corn Maple Cornbread

adapted from King Arthur’s recipe.

4 ears of fresh sweet corn

1 cup of milk (whole is preferred, but not required)

1/4 cup Land’s Sake maple syrup

4 tbsp butter + more for preparing the pan

2 large eggs

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1 cup of yellow cornmeal

1 tbsp of baking powder

1/2 tsp of salt

 

Husk the corn, cut each ear in half, and shave the kernels off the cob. Don’t discard the cob! Place the kernels, milk, and halved cobs into a sauce pot over medium heat. As soon as the milk comes to a boil, cover the corn and turn the heat off. Let sit for 20 minutes.

While the corn is soaking in the hot milk, preheat the oven to 425°. If using a 9 inch cast iron skillet, put the skillet into the oven as it’s preheating. You want to get the skillet nice and hot to create a good crust along the bottom and sides.

In a bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Melt the butter and set aside to cool a little. If using a cake pan, butter the sides.

After the corn and milk have sat for 20 minutes, remove the cobs and transfer the corn to a blender or food processor. Process for about a minute or until the corn is pureed. If you have a food mill, use that to separate the skins of the kernels from the milk-corn mixture. If you don’t have a food mill, use a fine-mesh sieve. Add the milk to the dry ingredients along with the butter, maple syrup, and eggs. Stir until just combined (overworking the batter will result in a tougher cornbread. Lumps will mostly work themselves out while it’s in the oven).

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and put on the middle rack in the oven. If you are using a cake pan, cook at 425° for 20 – 25 minutes. If you are using the cast iron skillet, reduce the heat to 375° and cook for 20 – 25 minutes. Test doneness with a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread–if the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done.

Let the cornbread cool for at least 10 – 15 minutes before removing from the pan. If it looks like the bread cooked in the skillet isn’t completely set by the time it comes out of the oven, that’s ok; as long as the toothpick comes out clean, it will continue to set as it sits in the pan outside the oven.

Enjoy!

 

Posted in Recipes.