It’s fall! You know fall is here when the air starts to get colder, the trees are turning red and yellow and the day is getting shorter. Fall is my kind of season, a season for refocusing on positive things especially after all the lightheartedness and fun of the summer. There is something very special on the air-a crisp autumn air- which makes you feel cozy and a strong desire to warm up.
Everything smells wonderful – lovely smells of cinnamon, apples, baking, sugar, leaves burning, that is indefinable autumn to me. I like the cooler weather…not to cold, not too hot, just perfect as it should be.
I love the promises of all the holidays…and all of the good things that come with it; the food, the getting together, and the decoration; and there are so many days off -for those working… Yeah! It is nice to look forward to Halloween; and then thanksgiving around the corner moving quickly into the Christmas season.
And what else speaks of autumn as squash, butternut, acorn, pumpkin, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, apples, pears, kale, sweet potatoes and corn.
With corn in mind I introduce to you to Majarete-Corn Pudding, a dessert of my childhood, one I ate often growing up, but have not eaten since I came to the States. This is my version of my mother’s Majarete or corn pudding; this corn gluten free dessert is very common in the Dominican Republic and one that is always welcome among us.
Here is what you need to make it:
9 ears corn on the cob; milk (1 cup regular milk, 1 cup heavy cream, 1 can evaporated and 1 can of coconut milk). You will also need sugar brown or white, cinnamon, vanilla extra, lime-lemon zest, a pinch of salt. To help with the thickening process add 2-3 tablespoons of cornstarch (my mother never added these ingredients, but it took her longer to thicken it) Finish with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, or with my caramelized corn.
The first time I intended to make this dessert, it curdled right when it was starting to thicken. My sister and I had to throw the whole pot of majarete away. My mother did it without cornstarch and it was delicious. I made it the second time by adding a little bit of cornstarch to stabilize the mixture. I made it two more times, the second one was more out of curiosity and with the addition of the cornstarch it was a success; and the third time was done more as a test before I finished the recipe. What the cornstarch does is that it acts as a stabilizer and as a thickener element. Why does corn curdled? I think corn is very high in protein and as we know protein curds up when it gets too hot so by adding the cornstarch the starch molecules help to absorb some of the heat energy as well as they also make the protein molecule strongest preventing them from curdling. Control the heat and do not over stir the mixture.
As for both the corn kernel and the cornstarch being one and the same…they might be, but cornstarch is made from the endosperm of the corn through a milling process. Such a process consists of washing and drying the endosperm to a powdery state. It might happen then that some of the protein is washed away, the cornstarch then becomes starchy or a gluten. All are my opinions based on reading and experience making Crème Anglaise.
- 9 corn ears on the cob
- 1 cup regular milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1 can coconut milk
- 3/4 cup sugar (plus 2 tablespoons)
- 2-3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1-2 tablespoons vanilla extra
- 1 lemon or lime peel
- 1 pinch of salt
|For the Majarete-Corn Pudding:|
|Husk the corn and remove silk (white hairy threads) from the corn and discard. With a bread knife cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob as possible. Blend the corn with the regular milk or the heavy cream and strain. In a heavy saucepan or pot put the corn milk with all of the ingredients; the remaining of the milk, corn starch (dissolved), the sugar, cinnamon sticks, vanilla extra, lemon zest, and pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Serve in individual bowls and decorate with caramelized corn or sprinkle with ground cinnamon.|
|For the caramelized corn:|
|In a skillet over medium heat add a tablespoon of butter, a cup of corn, a teaspoon of sugar, a pinch of salt and cinnamon sticks (optional). Cook until golden brown. To make the caramel: in a saucepan add ½ cup of sugar with ¼ of water. Cook sugar and water until golden brown. Turn off heat and add the corn mixture to the sugar. Lay it flat in a cookie sheet to dry.|
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