Recipe | Corn bread with grilled peaches

This corn bread recipe is out of Ottolenghi's splendid new book, Nopi that I recently got as a birthday present thanks so my gem of a sister. We had peaches at home and no dessert planned (not that we have dessert every night...) so when I came across this recipe while I was flipping through the golden (literally) pages of this book there was no stopping me. I ended up making a slightly different version - I used honey instead of the suggested syrup recipe and used natural yoghurt instead of maple cream only because it was just for a few of us but would definitely make the whole catastrophe if I were to make it for a dinner party. I'll pop in the recipes for these extras at the bottom of this post.

The corn bread is really light and fluffy from the egg whites being folded through and there is a nice contrast between the corn and pepper and the slight sweetness from the sugar and honey. Drizzling the bread with honey when serving adds a nice sweetness and I am sure the suggested syrup would make it sweeter again. I probably undercooked it slightly but live and learn I guess.. We all really enjoyed this corn bread and was a nice way to end a meal because it doesn't leave you feeling too full or like you have eaten something really wicked. 

Corn bread with grilled peaches
Serves 4

Corn bread
80g corn kernels, fresh or frozen
85g plain flour, sifted
75g polenta
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
25g castor sugar
65g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the loaf tin
70ml full-fat milk
70g Greek yoghurt, plus extra for serving 
3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 1/2 tsp runny honey, plus extra for serving 
Coarse sea salt and black pepper 

Grilled peaches (my version)
4 large juicy yellow peaches, halved and stones removed
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp cinnamon 
1 tsp ground ginger 
2 tsp demerara sugar

Maple cream 
120ml double cream
11/2tsp maple syrup
120g cream cheese

Grilled peaches (Nopi style)
375ml Sauternes
5cm piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
4 tbsp runny honey
1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways and seeds scraped
4 large juicy peaches, halved and stones removed
2 tsp demerara sugar

Enjoy! x 

Preheat oven to 220C. Lightly grease a loaf tin, about 22cm x 9xm, with butter and line it with baking paper.
Place a wok on high heat and, when hot, add the corn kernels. Char for 2 minutes shaking the pan from time to time, until golden-brown all over. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Place the flour, polenta, baking powder and sugar in a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon salt and a good grind of black pepper. Mix well and set aside. Melt 25g of the butter and put this into a separate bowl the milk yoghurt, egg yolks, honey and roasted corn. Mix well, then fold  this gently into the flour mix, until well combined.
Use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites until soft peaks are formed. Carefully fold a third of this into the corn mix, followed by the second third and then the last, taking care not to overwork the mixture.
Pour the the mix into the loaf tin and bake for 25 - 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle of the bread comes out clean and the top is golden-brown. Remove from the oven and, after 10 minutes, tip it out of the load tin and set aside on a cooling rack.

Set the grill to a high heat and lay the peach halves on a small parchment-lined baking tray, skin-side down and fitted together snuggly, so that they poach as well as grill. Brush the cut side of the peaches with with honey and butter then sprinkle over the rest of the ingredients evenly. Place under the grill and cook for 8 - 10 minutes, basting them with more honey if needed. Remove the tray from the grill once the peaches are nicely caramelised and set aside to cool.

When ready to serve, trim and discard the ends of the loaf and slice the loaf into thick slices. Place a large frying pan on a medium-high heat with a knob of butter and a tbsp of honey. Cook for 1 - 2 minutes, until butter starts to foam, then add in bread to pan. Fry for 5 - 6 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden brown on both sides.
Serve on a plate with a quenelle of yoghurt, 2 peach halves and drizzle generously with honey.

Place the cream and maple syrup in a medium bowl and whisk until firm peaks are formed. Continue to whisk gently as you add the cream cheese, stopping as soon as it is combined. Cover and keep in fridge until ready to serve.

To make the ginger-vanilla syrup, place a medium saucepan on a medium-high heat with the Sauternes, ginger, honey and vanilla pod and seeds. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 - 6 minutes, until about 250ml is left in the pan. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to serve.

Follow the instructions above for grilling peaches but use about 3 - 4 tsp of the syrup to brush the peaches instead of honey and butter. 

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