There are quite a few things taken into consideration when we’re planning what goes in the weekly Quinciple box. First and foremost, of course, the ingredients must be fresh and in season. Second, they must come from producers who meet our standards. But after those two pieces are covered, we have a third agenda: pairing ingredients that work well together in the kitchen.
This week’s box featured a trio of ingredients that might as well be the holy trinity of summer sweet tooths everywhere:
Corn. Blackberries. Lemon Verbena.
When in concert with one another, these three pals yield seriously delicious dishes. We could make ourselves sick on pints of Melissa Clark’s corn ice cream with blackberry-verbena sauce, for example, or Mario Batali’s cornmeal doughnuts with blackberries and sweet corn crema.
But since most moderate people would say that dessert can’t count for every meal, we’ve sought ways to introduce this trifecta into other times of day. The result: Cornbread Custard with Blackberries and Lemon Verbena.
Think of it as a lovechild of skillet cornbread and a Dutch baby, and the solution to every weekend brunch plan for the remainder of the summer. We took inspiration from a classic Marion Cunningham recipe, then added fresh corn into the mix for even more flavor.
Makes 6 servings
1 ear corn, shucked
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup stone ground yellow cornmeal
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup blackberries, divided
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup sugar
½ cup chopped lemon verbena
Preheat to 375º.
Place the butter in a 8-inch cast-iron skillet with 2” high sides and transfer to the oven for about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In another medium bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, honey, and vanilla extract.
Stir the dry ingredient into the wet ingredients until almost combined. Make sure the melted better has coated the whole pan, including the sides.
Transfer the batter into the skillet and spread evenly. Place the half the berries and kernels evenly over the top. Pour the cream over the berries; do not stir.
Bake the cornbread until the edges are golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan, and a tester inserted near the center comes out clean, 25 minutes.
While the cornbread bakes, make the blackberry-verbena syrup: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining blackberries and sugar. Cook, stirring for about 7 minutes, until the berries have released their juices and the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the stove and stir in the lemon verbena. Let cool slightly.
Let the cornbread cool for at least 20 minutes. Cut into slices, and drizzle each with a bit of the blackberry syrup, and serve.