Ask Peter: How to make creamed corn
I would like to make my own creamed corn, using frozen corn or fresh when in season and then perhaps freezing that for use in winter when I enjoy creamed corn on toast for breakfast. I have given it a go just blending it up a little but I don’t get that texture of the Wattie’s canned stuff. Is it just a matter of adding some cream? I have tried this also but still didn’t get the right texture. Rosemary
I love canned creamed corn. As a child, I really didn’t enjoy fresh corn on the cob, and it wasn’t until my late teens that I began to enjoy eating a corn cob smothered with butter. I found it too sweet, too fiddly and too … demanding. Funnily enough, canned sweetcorn now seems so much sweeter, so I really don’t know what I was thinking. My father Bruce and sister Tracey grew the best sweetcorn and they loved it — boiled or raw. I don’t recall we ever barbecued cobs of corn although that’s now one of my favourite ways to eat it. Toasted sandwiches packed with creamed corn and slices of cheddar, likely to have been Chesdale Cheese, were always welcome on a cold winter’s day for an easy lunch, and sometimes we’d have it for breakfast with a slice of fried smoked streaky bacon on toast.
There are two ways you can make it, one uses a sort of bechamel sauce as the thickening, and the other just uses cream, cooked enough to reduce it a little. Both ways are improved, I feel, with the addition of finely chopped onions, ideally white-fleshed rather than red onions as the colour doesn’t really work so well. If you don’t eat dairy, then use olive oil for the bechamel instead of butter, and either unsweetened coconut milk instead of milk, or another milk substitute such as rice or oat milk. If you’re making the flourless version, use either milk, although the richer coconut will work better than most others. If you avoid gluten, then most other flour substitutes will work well, but I’d suggest you make a paste with them and water which you add to the sauce before adding more liquid. For a tastier, but less yellow outcome, fry half the corn in a little butter or oil on high heat to colour it and impart it with a slightly toasty flavour. You can also add smoked paprika, diced smoked bacon, chopped garlic or coarsely chopped rosemary or sage with the onions for added flavour in the initial steps. And adding some grated parmesan or cheddar, snipped chives or thinly sliced spring onions at the end is always a good idea!
Flour-based: In a wide saucepan over medium-low heat place 500g corn kernels, 200ml double cream, 30g butter, 1½ teaspoons flaky salt and plenty of coarsely ground black pepper. Heat it up, stirring often. In a separate pan, warm 200ml milk to just above body temperature. Sprinkle 2 generous tablespoons of flour over the corn and mix into a paste. Gently stir in the warmed milk making sure no lumps form. Bring to a gentle boil then simmer 5 minutes, stirring often. If it’s too thick, add a little extra milk. Taste for seasoning.
Cream-based: Cook 70g butter in a medium pan until sizzling. Add 1 small, finely chopped onion and cook till translucent and softened over medium low heat, stirring often. Add the kernels from 3 cobs, or around 500g of defrosted frozen corn. Top with 100ml water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, put a lid on and cook 10 minutes to soften the corn. Add 125ml cream, 1½ teaspoons flaky salt and plenty of coarsely ground black pepper and cook with the lid off until the cream reduces and thickens — about 8 minutes. Taste for seasoning.