Corn Husk Meringue w/ White Chocolate Sweetcorn Mousse

So this is a dish that in a sense “never was”. Episode 3 of Food Network Canada’s Great Chocolate Showdown had an elimination challenge of selecting from a preset range of vegetables and using said vegetable as the feature item in a dish of your creation. Along with chocolate of course! I got to sit this out thanks to winning “Sweet Safety” that week but nonetheless I couldn’t help but think that I’d have loved to have done this challenge as it’s right in my wheelhouse of using unexpected ingredients in unexpected places.

I’d have been hoping for Sweetcorn from the Parsnip; Pumpkin; Beets; Fennel and Sweetcorn). This would have given me the ideal opportunity to pay homage one of my food idols Enrique Olvera. Taking one of his feature desserts from the menu at his Pujol restaurant and tweaking it somewhat (hopefully not too irreverently!) to facilitate the over-riding brief of the show and yes- include chocolate.

Corn Husk Meringue w/ White Chocolate Sweetcorn Mousse #recipe #greatchocolateshowdown

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Ingredients

Makes 4

Meringue

  • 4 dried cornhusks
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Mousse

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 3 ears)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone

Salted Bitter Caramel Popped Corn

  • 1/3 cup popping corn kernels
  • 2 Tablespoons Canola, or other flavorless, oil
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Additional sea salt to taste

Method

Meringue

  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Spread the husks on a large baking sheet; bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until browned. Remove the browned husks from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 200° F
  2. Cut any unbrowned ends from the husks, discard and break the remaining browned husks into small pieces Transfer to a spice grinder in batches and grind to a powder. Sift the husk powder through a fine sieve and discard the larger remnants
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, gradually beat in the sugar until medium peaks form. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of the husk powder; beat at medium-high speed until stiff. Reserve any remaining husk powder for serving
  4. Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe four 3-inch rounds of meringue onto a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, until the meringues are set and sound hollow when lightly tapped on the bottom. Set aside and set cool completely while you make the mousse

Mousse

  1. In a skillet, combine the corn, sugar, salt and 3/4 cup of the cream and bring just to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring, until the corn is tender, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a blen­der and puree until smooth.
  2. Strain the puree through a fine sieve, pressing on the solids. Let cool completely, then whisk in the mascarpone
  3. In a bowl, beat the remaining 1/4 cup of cream until stiff. Fold into the corn mixture until no streaks remain. Chill until ready to serve

Salted Bitter Caramel Popped Corn

  1. Measure corn kernels and oil into a large pan
  2. Cover pan leaving lid slightly ajar and place over a medium heat
  3. Kernels will start to pop, shake occasionally. When popping slows and stops remove pan from heat and carefully remove the lid
  4. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a bowl to cool fully while you prep the caramel coating*
  5. Line and oil spray a baking sheet
  6. In a pan combine the brown sugar and water. Heat over a medium heat until sugar has melted, swirling the pan often
  7. Increase heat to high and boil for 6-8 minutes until sugar syrup has thickened
  8. Remove pan from heat, stir in the Kosher salt and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Carefully toss in 1 1/2 cups popped corn and gently stir to fully coat the popped corn pieces. Transfer to your prepared baking sheet, spreading the pieces out before leaving to cool and set.
  9. Once cooled toss the pieces in additional seas salt to taste

Assembly/ To Serve

  1. Transfer the meringues to plates and gently crack open with a table knife. Spoon the corn mousse between the meringues
  2. Arrange a sprinkling of the salted bitter caramel popped corn around the plate and sprinkle the remaining corn husk powder over. Serve right away

*This recipe makes more popped corn than needed. Any surplus can be stored in an air-tight bag or container for scoffing later!

**In the photos here I have also garnished with some tempered white chocolate “corn husks”.

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