Bon Appétit (July 2016)
A few weeks ago, we spent a long weekend on Fire Island with a big group of friends.
Fire Island is unlike anywhere else we've ever been. It's dotted with little towns packed tight with beach houses, but it's remarkably underdeveloped. There are no roads and only a handful of cars -- it's just a raised wooden boardwalk cutting through the trees. We were in the town called the Pines, but "town" is a bit of a misnomer. There's a coffee shop and a deli, and a couple places to get a drink, all clustered around the dock where the ferry gets in. But other than that, it's just houses and woods and an endless stretch of broad, sandy beach.
From a food perspective: Fire Island presents two unique challenges. First, you're likely cooking for a big group. (Our house slept 20!) And second, there's no grocery store.
How do you cook for a house full of people with no grocery store? With a lot of careful planning.
Anyway, the meals went off without a hitch.
The Saturday breakfast team made heavenly blueberry pancakes. The Sunday breakfast team (which included the two of us) made these Fresh Corn Pancakes, which is a recipe we've gone back to time and time again since we first wrote about it seven years ago.
So there we all were on Sunday morning, happily munching away on the corn pancakes, when someone looked up and said the smartest thing we've heard in a while: "How good would these be combined with the blueberry pancakes from yesterday?"
Blueberries and sweet corn? Sign us up!
So it was total kismet when we saw this Blueberry and Corn Crisp in the new Bon Appétit. This Sunday, we picked up blueberries and some fresh corn at the farmers market, and then we got to work.
This crisp turned out very well, but there are a few things we'd try in order to make it even better.
For one thing, there's definitely not enough corn. The recipe calls for one cup of fresh kernels, but we'd double that to two. We could barely discern much of a sweet-corn flavor in the finished crisp.
Then there's the cook time. We checked ours at 60 minutes, and while the filling was well set, the crumble on the top hadn't browned. So we left it in for another 8 minutes. In the end, though, we think we overcooked it. Our filling was slightly gummy and too thick. Our suggestion: Err on the side of undercooking a bit, and if your topping isn't browning, consider a few minutes very-carefully-observed minutes under the broiler, with the crisp far away from the heating element. That might be a better way to get a crisp, golden-brown topping without overcooking the filling.
We are all in on the blueberry-and-corn combo. And with just a couple tiny tweaks here -- mostly, more corn -- we would have really loved this crisp.
5 cups fresh (or frozen, thawed) blueberries
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Topping And Assembly
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup coarse-grind cornmeal or polenta
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
10 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 1 large ear)
Toss blueberries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, cornstarch, and salt in a shallow 2-qt. baking dish.
Topping And Assembly
Preheat oven to 375°. Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl to combine. Using your hands, work butter into dry ingredients until no dry spots remain and mixture holds together when squeezed. Add corn and toss to evenly distribute. Press topping between your fingers and break into large pieces over filling.
Bake crisp until topping is golden brown and juices are thick and bubbling, 50–60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 30 minutes before serving.
Do Ahead: Crisp can be made 1 day ahead. Store tightly covered at room temperature.