Did you freeze some of summer’s corn for later? How about using it to make a fun panna cotta dessert?
Corn might not be so common in the dessert world, but I’m really into it! My taste of corn ice cream at a New York parlor may have helped inspire this a bit. That AND work. Panna cotta is one of the desserts we serve on a regular rotation. Sbrisolona is something my boss whipped up once or twice before I started seeing it around on the web. Now, my boss would never combine these two desserts, but I sure like them together.
First, lets talk panna cotta. It definitely tastes like corn, but it’s subtle and not too sweet. It’s also irresistibly creamy. Now, that didn’t come without a price. After a few trials, I found filtering the corn-cream mixture through a sieve and then through a cheesecloth was the only sure way to get this 100% lump free. That corn is fibrous, man.
Now the sbrisolona… If you’re not familiar with this Italian cookie-cake type creation, let me give you a little run-down. It’s made with a combination of flour, cornmeal and ground nuts. I used both almonds and hazelnuts, and tweaked a recipe from my boss. The texture is kind of like the crumb topping on a muffin, so it’s pretty addictive. This recipe will give you plenty of extra sbrisolona to snack on, so you’re all set. I also love how the panna cotta and the topping contain different forms of corn. It might be an unusual combination, but they really compliment each other.
- 2 ½ C fresh corn kernels or frozen, defrosted corn (3-5 ears of corn)
- 2 ½ C heavy cream
- ⅔ C granulated sugar
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ C milk
- 1 packet unflavored, powdered gelatin (about 2 tsp)
- 3.5 oz all purpose flour
- 3.5 oz fine yellow corn meal
- 3.5 oz unsalted butter, softened at room temperature, sliced
- 2 oz blanched, whole almonds
- 1.5 oz skinned hazelnuts
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- Zest of ½ orange
- Dash vanilla extract
- 10-15 skin-on almonds, to decorate (optional)
- Butter 6 (5-6 oz) ramekins. Set aside.
- Add corn kernels and ¼ cup of water to a small pan. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cover. Steam for about 3-5 minutes or until just cooked through. If all of the water evaporates during cooking, add a couple extra tablespoons, as needed. Drain and transfer to a blender.
- Place heavy cream, sugar and salt in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- While cream mixture heats, pour cold milk into a small bowl, sprinkle over gelatin and allow to bloom for 5-10 minutes. Whisk milk and gelatin into simmering cream mixture. Reduce heat to low and whisk until smooth.
- Pour cream-gelatin mixture over the corn in the blender. Blend until smooth. Pass through a sieve. Filter for a second time through a cheesecloth. Pour into greased ramekins.
- Cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate at least 4-6 hours or overnight, until chilled and firmed.
- For the sbrisolona, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in a bowl.
- Finely grind blanched almonds in a food processor. Remove. Coarsely chop hazelnuts in processor. Add nuts to flour mixture.
- Add butter, zest and vanilla to mixture. Work in butter, using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles wet sand. Refrigerate at least 3-4 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Cover bottom in parchment and grease again. You may also use a ring mold placed over parchment paper.
- Break up sbrisolona mixture into small (~ ½ inch) chunks and spread around prepared pan until full. Do not press down and pack. Decorate top with skin-on almonds, if desired.
- Bake about 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes, remove sides of springform pan, and cool completely over a wire rack. Remove bottom of pan and transfer to a plate.
- For serving, unmold panna cotta. Place ramekins into a bowl or container of hot water, making sure water does not get into the ramekin. Allow to sit for about 30 seconds. Remove from water and run a knife along the inside edge of the ramekin to loosen the panna cotta. Place a plate on the top of the ramekin, flip to invert, give it a gentle tap and unmold. If the panna cotta does not unmold, place it in the warm water bath again. Crumble over pieces of sbrisolona. Enjoy.