How to make sweetcorn and bacon chowder, and maple syrup tart

02 November 2018

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THE Israelite harvest seemed to focus on “corn, new wine, and olive oil” (Deuteronomy 11-12). I reflected on this recently when a market stall was almost giving away corn on the cob. The Americans are great sweetcorn-ophiles, and it’s super on a barbecue; but don’t overlook soups such as this Sweetcorn and bacon chowder which I pulled together with several pantry ingredients

4 cobs of sweetcorn
1 litre (2 pt) chicken/veg stock
2 parsnips, peeled
6 small potatoes (450g/1 lb)
1 stick celery
4 rashers streaky bacon
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
200ml (7 fl. oz) whole milk
handful of chopped parsley
olive oil

In a saucepan, bring the stock to the boil and simmer the sweetcorn for at least 30 minutes. Leave the cobs to cool, and strain. Peel and dice the parsnips and potatoes, chop the celery, and bring them to the boil in the stock. Simmer with the lid on until cooked: about 30 minutes. Chop the bacon and fry until crispy.

Liquidise the stock/vegetable mix in the saucepan. Slice down the cobs vertically so that the sweetcorn falls away. Stir this into the soup base along with the pepper and paprika, and the milk. Toss in the bacon. Serve in bowls, with a little parsley on top and an Israelite drizzle of oil.

The recent trip to Paris (Cookery, 7 September) included a visit to Clamato, where the staff implored us to sample the Maple syrup tart. It was delicious. This is my version.

120g (4 oz) wholemeal flour
60g (2 oz) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon (15g/½ oz) cocoa powder
200g (7 oz) maple syrup
30g (1 oz) unsalted butter
15g (½ oz) cornflour

Make the pastry by rubbing together the flour and butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the cocoa powder, and bring it all together with a little water and a knife. Remember that wholemeal absorbs extra water so will need more than you may be used to. Wrap the dough in cling film, and rest in the fridge for at least six hours.

Before cooking, roll the pastry out and use it to line six individual tart or muffin tins, or a flan dish, and return to the fridge for further resting of an hour or so. Preheat the oven to about 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Bake blind for 10 minutes. Remove the lining and return to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes until coloured and crisp. Set aside to cool.

In a saucepan, slowly heat together the maple syrup and butter. Whisk together and simmer for a few minutes. Mix the cornflour with a little water, add in, raise the heat and whisk until thick. Pour this straight into the pastry case and serve with a cloud of clotted cream.

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