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corn and cardamom tart

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Nik Sharma

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corn and cardamom tart

This is a versatile custard that I could bake in a tart or a pie or skip the pastry entirely and bake it in a ramekin to eat straight out of. While this recipe celebrates summer sweet corn, you can also use frozen (if frozen, use directly and add an extra 5 to 6 minutes for roasting). The roasting of the corn kernels amplifies the sweetness of the corn. Also, it introduces a tiny hint of caramelization that pairs well with the cool cardamom infused into the custard. Adding cornmeal to the crust gives the tart a wonderful texture.

Ingredients

For the Cornmeal Tart

¼ cup/55 g unsalted butter softened to room temperature plus 1 tablespoon

¼ cup/50 g fine sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Seeds from 2 green cardamom pods, ground

¾ cup/105 g all-purpose flour plus a little extra for dusting the pan

¾ cup/112 g medium-grind cornmeal

¼ tsp fine sea salt

For the custard 

4 cups/about 4 ears/460 g sweet corn kernels, frozen or fresh 

1 tsp olive oil

1 cup/240 ml whole milk

½ cup/60 g crème fraiche

6 Tbsp/85 g unsalted butter

Seeds from 3 green cardamom pods, ground

½ cup/100 g sugar

4 large egg yolks

Instructions

For the Tart 

  1. Melt the 1 tablespoon of butter and lightly grease a 9 in/23 cm tart shell using a pastry brush. Dust the greased pan with 1 Tbsp of flour, shaking off any excess.
  2. Place the ¼ cup/ g of butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat at low speed for 7 to 8 minutes with the paddle attachment, stopping the mixer at 1-minute intervals to scrape the side of the bowl with a spatula. The mixture will be whitish in color and light when done.
  3. Add the egg and the cardamom to the bowl and mix on low speed for 3 to 4 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the flour, cornmeal, and salt and mix on low speed until combined, 1 to 1 ½ minutes. Remove the dough and transfer to the center of the prepared tart pan. Place a large piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap on the surface of the dough, and using your fingers or a small flat bowl, spread the dough to cover the surface of the entire pan and the sides. Refrigerate the tart for at least 1 hour. This can also be prepared a day ahead, wrapped in plastic film, and refrigerated.

For the Custard Filling

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F/220C.
  2. Mix the corn kernels with the oil, spread them out on a baking sheet, and roast for about 12 to 15 minutes until the kernels start to brown a little. Remove from heat and transfer to a blender. Add the milk and blend quickly for a few seconds until smooth. Remove and pass the liquid through a fine mesh sieve set over a large bowl to remove any bits of corn, pressing with a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids left behind in the sieve.
  3. Whisk the crème fraiche into extracted corn mixture to combine evenly.
  4. Melt the butter in a large thick bottomed saucepan on medium heat. Stir in the cardamom and cook for 30 seconds until you start to smell the aroma. Remove the saucepan from heat and whisk in the sugar and the yolks until smooth. Return the saucepan to the stove and continue stirring while adding the corn mixture. Cook with constant stirring until the mixture is thickened for about 15 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl. The custard is ready when a finger can leave a clear trail across the back of a spoon coated in the liquid when run through it.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425F/220C Line the chilled tart shell with pie beads or dried beans and blind bake in the oven for 10 mins. Reduce the heat to 350F/180C, remove the tart pan from the oven, remove the beads, and then pour the warm custard into the center of the tart. Return the tart to the oven and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes until the custard starts to firm up and slightly jiggles in the center but is no longer liquid. Resist the urge to overbake the custard, or it can crack. Remove the tart from the oven and cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours or until room temperature. You can also chill the tart in the refrigerator overnight before serving. Using a sharp serrated knife to cut slices.

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