Getting Back: Corn bread with grilled peaches and maple cream
I always say this, but this time I mean it. I am back. With a vengeance. And the only way to properly get back into cooking is to make a stonking great brunch. The cooking of this meal was substantially easier than sourcing the ingredients. It took trips to THREE different supermarkets to source polenta. Seriously Ireland – polenta is not that exotic.
So this recipe is just copied entirely from Yotam Ottolenghi’s and Ramael Scully’snew book called Nopi, based on dishes served at their (relatively) new restaurant in London.
Oh nom this is so good. It’s a beautiful mingling of salty, sweet, creamy, spicy and the slightest hint of sharp. If it looks like an effort, I’ll be honest – it is. But here is how you can make your life easier, and substantially more delicious, whilst still being able to have this all for brunch. Make two loads of corn bread the night before. Have one lot with dinner that night. Corn bread goes with everything. And this is probably the best and easiest recipe I’ve tried in a long time. While your corn bread is cooking, make your syrup and maple cream. Put these in fridge and then they are ready to go the next day. All you have to do in the morning then is cook bacon, grill the peaches and fry the corn bread – 20 minutes max.
80g corn kernels, fresh or frozen
85g plain flour
75g quick cook polenta
2.5 tsp baking powder
25g caster sugar
65g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the loaf tin
70ml full-fat milk
70g Greek yoghurt
3 eggs – yolks and whites separated
1.5 tsp runny honey
coarse sea salt and black pepper
120ml double cream
1.5 tsp maple syrup
120g cream cheese
375ml Sauternes (I just used a super cheap Muscat from Tesco)
5 cm piece of ginger peeled and thinly sliced
4 tbsp runny honey
1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways and seeds scraped
4 large juicy peaches, nectarines or plums, halved and stones removed
2 tsp demerara sugar
Bacon – enough to feed 4
- Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C, or 200 if fan assisted
- Place a large frying pan or wok on a high heat and when hot, add the corn kernels. Char for 2 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time, until golden brown all over. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
- Lightly grease a loaf tin (approx 22cm x 9cm with butter, and line with baking paper. Place the flour, polenta, baking powder and sugar in a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon salt and a good grind of black pepper. Mix well and set aside. Melt 25g of the butter and put this into a separate bowl with the milk, yoghurt, egg yolks, honey and roasted corn. Mix well, the fold this gently into the flour mix, until well combined. Whisk the eggs whites until soft peaks are formed. Carefully fold a third of this into the corn mix, followed by the second, then third, taking care not to overwork the mixture (it’s fine to have streaks of egg white). Pour the mix into the loaf tin and bake in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let it cool for 10 minutes, then take out of tin and cool on a wire rack.
- To make the maple cream, whisk the cream and maple syrup until soft peaks form. Continue to gently whisk as you add the cream cheese, stopping as soon as it is combined. Keep in the fridge, covered, until ready to use.
- To make the syrup put the wine, ginger, honey and vanilla pod and seeds on a medium-high heat. Bring to the boil and cook for 5-6 minutes until about 1 cup is left in the pan. Set aside until ready to serve.
- Start cooking your bacon now.
- Set the grill to high and lay the peach halves up a on a small parchment lined baking tray, skin side down and fitting together snugly, so that they poach as well as grill. Brush the cut side up of the peaches with 2 teaspoons of the ginger syrup and sprinkle over the sugar. Place under the grill – leave about 15cm between the grill and the tray – and cook for 8-10 minutes, basting them with more syrup every couple of minutes. Remove the tray form the grill once the peaches are nicely caramelised and set aside to cool (I ran out of time and didn’t quite manage this). The remaining syrup can be used when serving.
- When ready to serve, trim the ends off the bread and cut 8 slices, 2 cm thick. Place a large frying pan on a medium-high heat with 20g of the remaining butter. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes, until the butter starts to foam, then add 4 slices of corn bread to the pan. Fry for 5-6 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden-brown on both sides. Remove the bread from the pan and keep somewhere warm, whilst you fry the remaining slices. Divide the the bread between 4 plates and place 2 peach halves alongside, as well as a few rashers of bacon. Top with a dollop of maple cream, a drizzle of syrup and serve at once.