Blueberry Cobbler + Sweet Corn Streusel
Oomphf. This. Has been. A Week.
I'm still trying to figure out how much of my life I should include in the blog, but I will say that I haven't been able to work on a new post because my son has been going through a sleep regression. After having settled into a great sleep routine, now he abruptly wakes up several times a night, his naps are all over the place, and he won't let me sit down for long while holding him. There have definitely been some amazing moments this week - he started solid foods! - but overall, it's been really exhausting. Miraculously, however, I found some time today to bake while he napped. So I finally put together this cobbler that I've been mulling over. It's much simpler and quicker than some of my other recipes, and it's a combination of two amazing summer staples grown in the Northeast - fresh corn and blueberries.
I know that mixing berries with corn may sound weird (kind of like my strawberry tomato tart), but think of it as a play on cornbread. In fact, Bon Appétit recently printed a similar recipe (which kind of bummed me out since I thought I had been so clever having come up with a unique flavor pairing). But while theirs is a straight-up blueberry crisp, mine is the denser, cake-ier love child between a crisp and cobbler. Behold - the crunchy corn streusel topping!
Yes, you saw a chocolate grapefruit streusel in my last post. I promise this isn't the start of a creative rut. I've just been flirting with a lot of variations on streusels, and I've grown some serious affection towards them. Now I want them on everything! Verrines, cakes, pies, ice cream popsicles, granola, banana bread - anything! I love the play of textures between something soft or creamy and something crunchy. I was first inspired by a blog post I read on Pastrylandia, written by the Executive Pastry Chef at the South Congress Hotel in Austin. It's her affectionate ode to "crunchies," and it's definitely eye opening. She talks about upping her game by using freeze-dried fruit, but I couldn't find any freeze-dried corn this time around. So I improvised and went with fresh corn kernels and plain cornflake cereal for added crunch!
This dessert is the perfect combination of the cakey cobblers that my husband loves and the crunchy, crumbly crisps that I prefer. And by making a cobbler batter with corn flour and cornmeal, in addition to the corn laden topping, its sweet flavor really sings instead of being overshadowed by the tart blueberries. In the end, the two pair beautifully, and they make for an interesting new way to shake the dust off of a summer classic. So put your reservations aside, and give it a shot this weekend! Cheers!
Blueberry Cobbler + Sweet Corn Streusel
Yields one 9 or 10-inch dessert
450 g (about 3 C) fresh or frozen blueberries (thawed if frozen)
25 g (3 T) granulated sugar
65 g (3 T) lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1 T cornstarch
45 g (2 T) all-purpose flour
15 g (1 T) fine corn flour (not cornstarch)
21 g (1 T) coarse cornmeal or polenta
3/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
113 g (1/2 C; 1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
100 g (1/2 C) granulated sugar
2 whole eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
80 g (1/2 C) all-purpose flour
36 g (1/4 C) fine corn flour (not cornstarch)
75 g (3/8 C; 6 T) granulated sugar
3/4 tsp salt
133 g fresh corn kernels (cut from one large cob)
35 g (about 1 C) plain corn flake cereal
113 g (1/2 C; 1 stick) unsalted butter, cold & cubed
Preheat the oven to 350°F and set a 9-inch or 10-inch pie pan aside.
Stir together the blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl, then set aside.
Meanwhile, whisk together the flours, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a separate mixing bowl for your batter. Set aside. In another mixing bowl, cream together your softened butter and sugar on medium speed with a stand or hand mixer. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until combined. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Set aside.
Whisk together the flours, sugar, and salt in a separate bowl. Stir in the corn kernels and the corn flake cereal. Then add the butter and, using your fingers, smash the mixture together until the butter is blended-in and evenly distributed. The mixture should resemble a coarse clay when fully incorporated. Set it aside.
Since the blueberries will have released a lot of juice at this point, strain them using a large sieve - but reserve the juice! Stir the cornstarch in to coat the strained berries. Then dump them into the pie pan, and arrange them in an even layer. Next, use a whisk to mix the dry batter ingredients into the wet butter-egg mixture. Stir until just combined - it will be a fairly stiff batter. Then pour the strained blueberry juice directly into the batter and whisk to incorporate. If your blueberries were frozen and the extracted juice is still cold, the butter may start to coagulating. Don't worry - the cobbler will still turn out fine. Pour the mixture over the blueberries in the pie pan, and use a spatula to spread and even out the batter. Lastly, use your fingers to crumble the streusel mixture on top of the batter until evenly distributed.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the streusel is starting to brown, the cake feels just a bit springy, and the blueberry juice is bubbling. Allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving, then serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.
Store covered in the fridge. To reheat, warm uncovered in a 200°F oven until hot. Enjoy!