Peruvian sweetcorn cake

As August draws on, you will surely be drawn to the falling prices of the sweetcorn, stalwart of the late summer harvest. That said, it is not obvious what to do with it once it is in your fridge. Grilled with butter is a winner of course, but there are only so many times you are willing to burn your mouth and you only have so many toothpicks.

Several kilos of corn was bestowed upon us last week, already looking a little sad for being eschewed by customers slow to follow the seasons. Sweetcorn is harvested as a young crop, when the sugars in the kernel have not yet converted to starch, as they have when corn is harvested for grain. This maturation process continues after picking, though, and sweetcorn takes on a less pleasant, grainy texture once past its best. Our haul was too dry to eat on its own so to save it from the compost heap, we looked to its roots across the Atlantic.

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Ingredients

From 3kg whole cobs, we managed to get around 1kg corn kernels, but you may find you get more when it’s fresh.

500g sweetcorn

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs

70g softened butter

1 tbsp cornflour

2 tspns baking powder

1 tbsp sugar

80g raisins (optional)

Method

1. Pre-heat your oven to 120° C

2. Put the sweetcorn in a pan with plenty of water and a little salt. Bring to the boil then cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse the sweetcorn until cooled a little. Save a some of the hot water and soak the raisins in a bowl for 10-15 minutes.

3. Separate the eggs (tip the yolk between halves of the shell, letting the white fall into a bowl). Add the yolks to the sweetcorn and, with a hand blender or food processor, blend until smooth. Add the butter, cornflour, sugar, baking powder and raisins and mix well.

4. Beat the egg whites until you have stiff white peaks. Add them to the mixture gently, folding rather than stirring to keep as much air in as possible.

5. Grease a cake tin (springform if possible) with a little oil and spread the mixture across it. Bake at the low heat for 2 hours. Leave to cool for 10 minutes. Turn the cake upside down onto another, oiled baking sheet. If it doesn’t come loose, be very gentle when trying to prise it out of the tin as it breaks easily.

6. Turn the oven up to 150°C and bake the cake for another 30-40 minutes until golden all over. Leave to cool before eating.

This cake is unsure whether it is sweet or savoury which makes it brilliantly versatile. Serve it with soup as a starter or with ice cream as a dessert. It is perhaps best with a wee spoon of spicy chutney, to bring out the salty sweetness even more.

Buen provecho!