(chef’s notes) This is a glorious expression of mid-summer, when the corn is intensely sweet and flavorful. Here bread pudding is reworked into an elegant, sensually textured combination of corn custard and brioche, which is baked in the oven until set and then glazed with a sauce made from corn juice and butter that is scented with white truffle oil. You will need eight 4-6 ounce molds in which to bake the puddings.
(my notes) This is a very delicious recipe, although it’s time consuming. If you love the rich essence of sweet corn, it’s worth it.
Custard base and puddings:
10 ¾ ounces corn kernels, all silk removed, cobs reserved (about 2 ears)
2 cups corn stock
1 tablespoon butter
3 ounces leeks, cut in ¼” squares
½ cup to 1 cup cream
½ teaspoon chopped thyme
1 cup brioche cut in ¼” cubes
1 recipe white truffle butter
Salt and white pepper
Cook the leeks in half of the butter with salt, covered, until tender. Cool spread out on a plate. Cook 5 ounces of the corn in the other half of the butter with salt, covered, until tender. Spread out on top of the leeks to cool. Sprinkle the chopped thyme over the corn and leeks.
Simmer the corn stock and the remaining corn with salt, covered, for about 45 minutes, until the corn is tender. Puree the corn and corn stock together and pass the liquid through a fine mesh sieve. Measure the resulting liquid, and add enough cream to make a total of 2 cups.In a mixing bowl whisk the eggs and yolks to combine. Whisk in the corn puree, adjust the seasoning with salt and white pepper, and pass the mixture through a fine mesh sieve.
Mix the cooled leeks, corn and thyme together, adjusting the seasoning with salt as necessary. Stir them into the custard base.
For the puddings: Line the insides of eight ceramic molds with butter. Combine the custard base and the brioche, fill the prepared molds with the mixture, and bake at 285 degrees until they feel set and the top swells just a touch, about 45-50 minutes. At this point they can be removed from the oven, kept at room temperature for up to two hours and then reheated in the same water bath at the same temperature.
To serve: if necessary, re-warm the puddings by placing them in a hot water bath in a 285 oven. Remove them when they are hot (you can check by inserting a metal skewer or knife into the center of a pudding, removing it and seeing if it is hot). Run a paring knife around the inside of the puddings to loosen them, and unmold them onto warm plates. Glaze the puddings with enough of the white truffle butter to coat them and then pool on the bottom of the plate a bit, and serve immediately.
6 ears of corn, shucked
5 cups water
Cut the kernels off of 4 ears of corns and reserve them for the corn custard base and the corn juice. Cut the corn cobs and remaining whole ears of corn in half, place them in a pot, cover them with the water, then simmer until the liquid is reduced by half and tastes intensely of corn, about two hours. Make sure you yield at least 2 cups. This can be done the day before.
White truffle butter:
1 cup corn juice (see note)
6 tablespoons butter, cut in small pieces
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons white truffle oil
Salt and white pepper
In a non-reactive pot gently heat the corn juice, stirring constantly, until it begins to thicken. If it seems too thick add a little corn stock to thin it out. Whisk in the butter a few pieces at a time until the sauce is smooth and well-emulsified. Add the white truffle oil and season to taste with salt and white pepper. If you need to hold this do so in a warm, but not hot, water bath.
Note: For the corn juice cut away the kernels from the cob and juice them with a vegetable juice according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For 1 cup of juice you will need about 2 cups of kernels, or 1-2 ears. You can also puree the corn with a few tablespoons of corn stock in a food processor and pass the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to achieve a similar effect. You will need a little extra corn for this method, as it is not as efficient as a vegetable juicer.