Thursday, July 30, 2009

Eat Your Vegetables!

I like to blur the boundaries between sweet and savory, using ingredients not typically associated with desserts. I had to plan a dessert for this week's Follow the Chef Market Tour and decided to start with sweet corn. Corn is at the height of its season right now, it's wonderfully sweet and brings a nice crunchy texture to the plate. Blueberries were a natural partner for the corn, and to tie everything together I made maple syrup the third element.

I started the dessert by making corn crepes, using a light batter with white corn kernels added to it. I laid the crepes out and spread some lightly sweetened whipped mascarpone cream in the center of each one, then spooned a little cooked blueberry compote over the cream. I folded the crepes over the filling and refrigerated them while make the rest of the components. Next, I started a maple caramel sauce by combining cream, maple syrup, sugar and salt in a saucepan. I brought it to a boil, then lowered the heat and let it reduce slowly until it became thick and creamy. The final step was to quickly saute more white corn kernels in a little butter and sugar, adding fresh blueberries at the end just to heat them through.

To assemble the dessert I spooned some of the warm maple caramel on the plate, set the crepes on top, spooned a little more of the sauce on them and scattered the sauteed corn and blueberries across the top. It was a lovely blend of tastes and textures, and the market tour group seemed to really enjoy it. I had a lot of fun presenting them with a seasonal dessert using a summer vegetable ... it might even make an appearance on the Grange dessert menu!