Guess what has finally hit the markets up here? Sweet-as-a-sugar-cube Minnesota grown ears of fresh corn! Maybe I'm crazy, but I get pretty excited when those husky wrapped cobs, studded with milky golden kernels, have grown enough to finally be ready to hop in my belly! You can be sure I've been plenty busy cleaning, stripping and freezing the kernels so we can enjoy that summery flavor in the dead of winter. You can blanch the ears of corn first if you were to do the same thing, but when it is as fresh as this, I usually don't bother. Before I packed the bags away, I snuck out a heaping cup so I could make this Fresh Corn and Basil Tart tonight.
While there is plenty of corn in the filling, we tied that flavor into the crust by using equal parts flour and cornmeal for the dry ingredients. Due to the cornmeal's firm texture, the mixture will be a little moist at first - to give it time to absorb some of the liquid and firm up, the assembled crust needs to rest in the refrigerator before using it.
Once the dough rested, we easily patted it into one of those nifty tart pans that have a removable bottom. The crust needs a head start to cook completely, but before we placed it in the oven, we lined the top with foil and weighed it down with dried beans to ensure the bottom didn't bubble up or crack during this process. As that was in the oven, we threw together the simple filling consisting of fresh corn kernels mixed with half-and-half, a couple eggs and a handful of torn fresh basil.
The filling was moist, but firm enough to get clean slices, while the crust was sturdy enough to pick up a slice without falling apart, yet our forks could easily glide through the tender bottom. The crust also had a pleasant crunch from the rough cornmeal. Juicy ripe tomatoes are also starting top pop up in the market along side the corn, so we finished off the slices with halved fresh cherry tomatoes and of course, a sprinkling of torn basil leaves. While I'm sure you could do some preparation a head of time, I highly suggest preparing this on a night where you know you will have plenty of time (this is why I chose a Sunday to make this!) as there are quite a few steps and resting times. However, Jeff and I both thought it was worth the time and effort!
And by the way, I've burned my arms too many times trying to push the removable bottom from the tart pan while wiggling that hot outer ring away from it, but this time I finally smartened up and just set it down on a ramekin. Took me long enough!
Fresh Corn and Basil Tart