I have been bringing home farm fresh corn on the cob from my favorite farm stand for weeks now. Making many of my favorite recipes using fresh corn. Or, simply eating it buttered and salted straight from the cob. After a few weeks, I went searching for new corn recipes. I had never made corn custards before, sometimes referred to as corn pudding. You can compare this old-fashioned recipe to a quiche, but without the crust. The combination of corn and Parmesan cheese makes a decadent first course or side dish served in individual ramekins.
Corn & Parmesan Custard Soufflé
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ears fresh corn
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups heavy cream
4 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease eight 6-ounce ramekins with the 2 tablespoons of butter, Set aside.
Place a kettle of water on the stove to boil. The hot water will be poured into a large roasting pan, surrounding the filled ramekins. This "water bath process" will result in tender, delicate custards.
Working with a deep large bowl, cut the kernels from the corncobs. Season the corn with the tablespoon of salt. Seems like a lot of salt, but this is the salt for the entire custard batter.
In a cast-iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Transfer the corn kernels to the hot skillet, cooking the corn for about 2 minutes, stirring the continuously. Remove the corn from the skillet, allow to cool.
In a bowl or extra-large measuring cup with a pour spout, whisk together the cream, eggs, nutmeg and cornstarch until thoroughly combined. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese.
Once the corn is cool, evenly divide the corn among the 8 buttered ramekins. Carefully pour the custard mixture into the ramekins over the corn. If the cheese has sunk to the bottom of the custard, use a large spoon to portion the cheese into each ramekin. Using the large spoon, gently lift the corn from the bottom of the ramekin to distribute the corn and the Parmesan throughout the custard. Place the filled ramekins into a large flat-bottomed roasting pan. Transfer the roasting pan to the oven onto the center rack. Fill the roasting pan with the hot water from the kettle, surrounding the ramekins with enough water to rise half-way up the sides of the ramekins. Be careful not to get any water into the custards. Bake the custards for 20 minutes, rotate the pan 180 degrees for even cooking. Continue roasting for another 20 minutes.
After 40 minutes of cooking time, if the tops are not brown, increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Continue cooking the custards for 5-7 minutes until golden brown, rotating the pan every minute or two for even browning on each custard, and the custard tops are slightly puffed.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Keep the custards in the pan with the water to cool slightly, about 10-15 minutes. Once cool, use a clean towel to remove each ramekin from the hot water.
Serve warm or at room temperature.