GRACE | Los Angeles
Elizabeth Belkind dreamed of wearing chef’s whites while
studying Russian language and literature at Bard College in New
York near the Culinary Institute of America. Eventually, she moved
to Los Angeles in 1998 for warmer weather, where she finally decided
to pursue that dream. While at the California School of Culinary
Arts, Belkind completed her externship under chef Mark Peel at Campanile.
Her focus soon turned to pastry. Under Nancy Silverton’s guidance,
Belkind developed her creativity through the rigors of “the
camp” at Campanile. Working with chef-owner Neal
Fraser (a 2004 LA Rising Star) at Grace since its 2003
opening, Belkind perfected a dessert menu that exudes a graceful
quality that mirrors her own balletic image and reflects her early
background studying dance at a performing arts high school. She
took her obsession with homemade doughnuts to a whole new level
with her Doughnut Shoppe Night every Wednesday at Grace,
swapping out her regular dessert menu for an all-doughnut themed
evening. Having recently departed the Grace kitchen, Belkind’s
next move is her own restaurant in Silverlake, where baked-to-order
pastries will be front-and-center on the menu.
Sweet Corn Crème Caramel with Corn Ice
Pastry Chef Elizabeth Belkind of Grace - Los Angeles, CA
Adapted by StarChefs.com
Yield: 15 Servings
- 4 cups granulated sugar, for caramelizing
- 3½ cups heavy cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- ¾ cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 6 eggs
- 4 yolks
- 5 eggs
- ½ can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 4 ears sweet corn kernels
- 1/3 cup pastry flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
Corn Ice Cream:
- 1 scant cup granulated sugar
- 5 cups half-and-half
- 4 ears of corn, kernels removed, cobs reserved
- 16 egg yolks
- 2 cups crème fraiche
- 2 pounds butter, cubed
- 5½ ounces brown sugar
- ½ ounce salt
- 1 pound and 14 ounces pastry flour
- 12 ounces bread flour
- 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
- Polenta (uncooked meal), for dredging
For Crème Caramel:
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a heavy medium sauce pan, combine
the sugar with enough water to get a wet-sand consistency. Cook
sugar over high heat, wiping down the sides of the pot with a clean,
wet pastry brush. Cook until sugar caramelizes and resembles the
color of dark rum. Pour the caramel into the ramekins, filling each
about a quarter full. Swirl the caramel inside each ramekin to coat
the sides completely, pour out excess caramel, leaving about 2 Tablespoons
in each ramekin. Set aside.
In a heavy medium sauce pan combine the cream, milk, sugar, salt
and vanilla. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolks together. Slowly pour one
cup of liquid into yolks while whisking. Then pour the tempered
yolks into the sauce pot. Quickly combine and immediately strain
through a fine chinois.
Pour enough custard to fill each ramekin to the top. Set ramekins
in a large roasting pan, and pour enough water into the roasting
pan to reach about ¾ of the way up the sides of the ramekins.
Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil. Puncture the foil several
times to allow for ventilation. Bake the custards until they jiggle
only slightly in the center when moved. Remove the roasting pan
from the oven and uncover it. Leave the custards in the warm water
for 15 minutes. Then remove them from the water and allow them to
cool for 10 minutes before storing them in the refrigerator.
For Corn Pudding:
Prepare a half sheet tray by spraying it with non-stick spray, covering
it with parchment paper, then spraying over the parchment paper
again. Smooth out the parchment so it is flush with the sides of
the pan and no wrinkles are visible on the flat surface of the tray.
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a blender, combine all ingredients.
Blend on high speed for 2 minutes. Strain through a chinois. Pour
into a prepared tray. Carefully place the tray in the oven. The
contents of the tray will be completely liquid, but will set up
as they bake. Bake for 18 minutes, rotating the tray 180 degrees
half-way through baking. Allow to cool completely. Invert the pudding
out of the sheet tray, run a small knife all along the edges of
the tray. Sprinkle the surface of the pudding with about a Tablespoon
of sugar, cover with another sheet of parchment and invert the tray.
The pudding should release. Then invert the pudding on to a flat
working surface covered with parchment paper. Cut out circles of
pudding with a cookie cutter that has the same diameter as the ramekins
used to bake the crème caramel.
For Corn Ice Cream:
Bring the sugar and half-and-half to a boil. Add the corn kernels
and cobs. Return to a boil. Remove from heat and let mixture steep
overnight. Remove the cobs and blend the mixture using an immersion
blender. Strain through a chinois. Return liquid to a boil.
Whisk yolks in a medium bowl. Slowly add three cups of the boiling
liquid while whisking. Pour the tempered yolks back into the pot
while whisking. Strain the mixture through a chinois once again.
Place in an ice bath and chill. When it is completely chilled, whisk
the crème fraiche in a separate bowl until smooth and no
lumps remain. Add the crème fraiche to the corn custard.
Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Recipe yields 2 to 3 quarts of ice cream.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the butter cubes in the bowl of
a large stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, cream the butter
for 10 minutes.
Combine the sugar and salt in the Robotcoupe. Process for five
minutes until they come together as a very fine powder. Sift the
powder so there are absolutely no lumps remaining.
Add the powder to the creamed butter. Continue to mix until very
light and fluffy.
Add the flours. Mix until dough just comes together. Divide into
small mounds and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours
before using. Roll dough out between sheets of parchment paper to
avoid sticking. Roll to about 1/8 inch thick. Use a cookie cutter
to cut out rounds with a diameter equal to that of the crème
caramel ramekins. Freeze the dough. When it is cold enough to handle,
dip the edges of each cookie in egg white, then in raw polenta.
Do not allow the polenta to clump around the edges. (It is intended
to add a subtle crunch to the cookies.) Recipe yields about 6 pounds
Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake shortbread cookies
for about 5 minutes, rotating the tray 180 degrees half-way through
baking. Allow to cool completely before serving.
To Assemble and Serve:
Place crème caramel ramekins in a warm water bath again.
Place a shortbread cookie at the bottom of your serving dish, preferably
a semi-flat bowl. Place a circle of corn pudding over the cookie,
then invert the crème caramel over the two, allowing the
caramel to drip out of the ramekin down the sides of the dessert.
Serve immediately as the caramel will cause the shortbread to become
soggy should the dessert sit for longer than 5 minutes. Serve with
a quenelle of corn ice cream and a pulled sugar garnish of your
Gewurztraminer Passito, Francis Tannahill, Oregon, 2004