Thursday, July 23, 2015

Blueberry Cornmeal Custard

I made a few different types of oatmeal for breakfast over the past month. There was oatmeal brûlée with brown buttered pears and cinnamon ginger cream, which was good, but not as good as it sounds.

I also made baked maple oatmeal, which was great served with a bit of cream. Much plainer than the previous dish, but somehow more satisfying.

My favorite so far, though, wasn’t really oatmeal, though it did contain oatmeal flour. It’s this blueberry cornmeal custard adapted from Whole Grain Mornings, by Megan Gordon (apparently, it called for huckleberries in its original version). I bought that book very recently, but I haven’t had the time to look through it yet, because I left it in Texas – I look forward to perusing it this fall. This dish really hit the spot, though: it’s like a cross between sweet cornbread and custard, and with the berries, it’s just perfect for breakfast. My favorite part was definitely the custardy center, and I can’t think of another dish I make that gives the same satisfying, warm, gooey goodness in the center.

I adapted the ingredients a bit to make it lactose-free, though I took advantage of being in Quebec so that I could use lactose-free cream. I do think, however, that you could substitute coconut milk in this case and end up with roughly the same effect. I don’t have a food processor here, so I bought oatmeal flour instead of pulverizing rolled oatmeal, but the author suggests substituting something like whole wheat, barley or spelt flour. I also had to be resourceful because I don’t have a good pie dish in my summer kitchen, so I used an 8”x8” pan instead. It worked out just fine, but if you do that, do remember to cut pieces in the same way you would cut a pie (instead of a pan of brownies), because the center of the dish really is the best part, so it’s important that each piece has a little bit of it.

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter or vegan margarine, plus more for greasing the pan
¾ cup (75 g) oat flour
1 cup (160 g) medium-grind cornmeal
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
2 large eggs, beaten
¼ cup (45 g) natural cane sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups lactose-free whole milk
2 Tbsp. white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups (300 g) fresh or frozen huckleberries or blueberries
¾ cup lactose-free cream
maple syrup, for serving (I like medium or amber)

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Butter a deep-dish 10-inch pie pan (or an 8-inch square dish – see note above). Place the buttered dish in the oven to warm while you make the batter.

In a small dish, melt the butter in the microwave on medium-high heat, careful not to let it splatter (about 45 seconds). Pour into a large bowl and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

Add the eggs to the butter and wish to combine. Add the sugar, salt, milk, buttermilk, vinegar, lemon zest and vanilla and stir well. Whisking constantly, add the flour mixture slowly and stir until the batter is smooth.

Remove the heated pan from the oven and set on a baking sheet for easy transport to and from the oven. Spoon the berries into the bottom of the pan in an even layer. Pour the batter on top of the berries. Then ever so slowly, pour the cream right into the center of the batter. Don’t stir. Carefully slide the pan into the oven, taking care not to jostle.

Bake until golden brown on top, 50-65 minutes (the baking time is subject to temperature and humidity – you are looking for the top to be golden brown and the center to be dry to the touch but still ever-so-jiggly if you lightly jostle the pan). Cool for at least 15 minutes to allow the custard to firm up before slicing.

Serve warm, with a generous drizzle of maple syrup. Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 4 days, but do rewarm them before serving! (I froze some leftover pieces, and thawed them in the refrigerator overnight before warming them at breakfast.)


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