Photo by Photograph: Charles Luce
Provenance of Dish
When the fungal gods smile in New Jersey, abundance rains down. Which can mean that a tried-and-true recipe becomes frankly boring. (What? Porcini in cream sauce again?) In search of ways to enhance a favorite, Jack Czarnecki’s Creamed Corn With Cépes, I came across The America’s Test Kitchen’s Home Baking Book Corn Custard, and decided to combine the two.
One important thought: use the best sweet corn you can find. Unfortunately, porcini and corn season rarely coincide, so during the hot months, search out the sweet and tender, strip the kernels from the cobs, and freeze them in 8-ear bags, a “Hope Springs Eternal” (for a good porcini crop) stash. Having a grand porcini autumn and digging the saved corn from the freezer is one of life’s true pleasures.
About 1/2 Lb (225 grams) porcini mushrooms brushed free of grit
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus 2 teaspoons for greasing baking dish
Sweet corn from 8 ears, frozen or fresh
2 cups heavy cream, divided
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 1/3 teaspoon granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 1/3 Tablespoon (4 teaspoons) cornstarch
1 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne or chimayo pepper
Heat oven to 350 F. Prepare a Bain Marie by lining a turkey roasting pan with a kitchen towel and filling a teakettle with water. Grease a 6-inch circular Pyrex baking dish with butter.
Chop the porcini stems into half-inch cubes.
Slice caps into bite sized sections.
Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter with high heat in a large, heavy frying pan.
When butter finishes sizzling and begins to change color, add the porcini.
Sauté without stirring for about 2 minutes, until golden brown on one side.
Reduce heat to medium, stir mushrooms, and cook another 5 minutes, until mushrooms are soft and any liquid has boiled away.
Add 1/4 cup of the cream, stir, and remove from heat. Pour mushrooms and cream into a medium bowl. Use a flexible spatula to scrape all liquid from frying pan into bowl and set aside.
Fill tea kettle and place over high heat. Return frying pan to high heat and melt the rest of the butter.
Add the sweet corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until released liquid is reduced by half.
Add the heavy cream, the salt, the soy sauce and the granulated sugar and continue to cook, with stirring, until the liquid thickens to the point that a stirring spoon leaves a clean track.
Add the porcini and their cream and stir. Cook another minute then remove from heat.
Transfer corn+mushroom mix to a large bowl. Whisk in the milk, the eggs, the cornstarch and the cayenne. Stir until thoroughly blended, then transfer to the prepared baking dish.
Place baking dish into the Bain Marie. When kettle boils, pour water into Bain Marie, taking care to not spill any into mushroom-corn dish.
Place immediately into oven, uncovered, and bake 30 to 45 minutes, or until custard is set at the edges, barely jiggly in the center, and lightly spotted with brown.
Carefully remove the baking dish from the hot water and set on a cool counter or wire cooling rack. Serve immediately. Leftovers (if there are any!) may be refrigerated or frozen.