Tomato and Corn Custard
Serves 4 as a side dish. Recipe is from “ White House Chef: Eleven Years, Two Presidents, One Kitchen” by former White House chef Walter Scheib III and Andrew Friedman (John Wiley and Sons, hardcover, $24.95). “One of the dishes the Bushes (George W. and Laura Bush) enjoyed at many of their private dinners was corn custard, usually baked in a large casserole,” Scheib said. “For the Johnson-Southworth dinner, we added a touch of tomato to bring complexity and color to the plate, and baked them individually for each guest. Cooking the custards at a low temperature for a long time gives them a velvety texture and prevents curdling. Serve these alongside grilled and roasted meats.”
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup uncooked fresh corn kernels
1 tsp. chopped garlic
2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup homemade or your favorite store-bought tomato sauce
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
11/2 tbls. unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
2. Purée the cream and corn in a standing blender until smooth. Pour the corn mixture into a large bowl. Stir in the garlic, eggs, egg yolks, tomato sauce and nutmeg.
3. Use a pasty brush to brush the melted butter into four 5-ounce ramekins or soufflé cups.
4. Fill ramekins to 1/4 inch from the top with the corn mixture and place the ramekins in a roasting pan with sides at least as high as the ramekins. Pour hot water into the roasting pan to 1 inch from the tops of the ramekins, being careful not to get any water into the ramekins. Carefully transfer to the oven and bake in the oven until the custards are just set (a toothpick inserted to the center will come out clean), 20 to 25 minutes.
5. Remove the pan from the oven and let the custards cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Carefully remove them from the pan and invert one custard onto each of four salad plates. Serve.
Testing note: I used frozen corn which may have affected the taste of the dish. Garlic and tomato flavors, not corn, dominated my dish, so I would cut back on the garlic. Also, it took much longer to cook than the recipe indicates, and I had to increase the oven temperature to 300 degrees.