Recipe: MasterChef's Becky Reams-Inspired Corn Panna Cotta with Bacon Maple Syrup

August 14, 2012 5:55 PM EDT | By Anthony Smith
Corn Panna Cotta
Corn Panna Cotta with Bacon-Infused Maple Syrup (Photo: Creative Commons)

Whether you like it or not, Becky Reams is probably going to win this season of MasterChef.

I'll admit it: I don't typically like reality television at all, and I'd written off MasterChef as just another Top Chef clone, but it's so much more compelling than anything I've ever seen. I think it's because this season is maybe the most crying-prone group of contestants I've ever seen.

The moment wherein Paula Deen guest judges and gives the contestants gifts from their families, and single mother Monti Carlo clutches a picture of her son, Danger, to her heart and breaks down is PURE, UNADULTERATED TELEVISION GOLD the likes of which Fox hasn't seen since Tamyra Grey placed fourth in Season 1 of American Idol.

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I admit it, I'm pushing for the unbelievably expressive Monti to win this season, but chances are she'll place third or fourth. It's looking like Becky's going to be the one to take it all, and it's not like she doesn't deserve it. In the last episode, her Classy Corn/Trashy Corn dessert was pretty much the coolest thing ever made on the show. It paired a Corn Panna Cotta alongside a bag of Caramel Popcorn.

It was a wonder to behold, and even more fun to replicate. But instead of using a fruit sauce on top, we'll be doing a bacon maple syrup to go with it.

Why? Because we think bacon is important. Here's our recipe.

Part One: Prepare the Cream

The recipe calls for two cups of corn cream, and we like to separate it like this:

one cup of raw corn milk + one cup of heavy cream that's had two kernel-less cobs of corn simmering in it for fifteen minutes, then had the cobs discarded

Prepare that mix of corn-infused creams, then set that aside.

Combine one cup of whole milk and 1/3 cup of white sugar to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Next, add the two cups of corn-infused cream and 1/4 teaspoon of coarse sea salt.

Bring it to a simmer, cover it, then turn the heat off. Let that sit untouched for thirty minutes.

Part Two: Blooming Your Gelatin

You're going to sound like a pro when you say things like "blooming gelatin." This is a simple process: grab three tablespoons of ice-cold water and put them in a small cup. Sprinkle 2.25 teaspoons of unflavored gelatin over it, making sure that you put the gelatin as evenly across the surface of the cup as possible.

Let that stand for fifteen minutes. Congratulations. That's called blooming a gelatin.

Part Three: Combining the Gelatin with the Corn Mix

After steeping, bring the cream mixture on the stove back to a simmer, then remove it from the heat and add the softened gelatin, making sure to give it a good stir to dissolve it evenly.

Divide the corn cream mixture into six standard ramekins. Cover them, and refrigerate overnight.

Part Four: Bacon-Maple Syrup

Slice up one cup of bacon sliced into quarter inch pieces. Cook them on the stove until they're crispy, then deglaze the pan with one cup of cold water and three-fourths cup of B-Grade Maple Syrup.

Make sure not to get the fancy kind, because this recipe's on the ham-fisted, comfort food side of the equation.

Cook over medium-high heat until approximately two cups of the mixture remain, or approximately two minutes or so.

Strain and discard the bacon. Whisk the infused bacon-syrup mix over high heat for anywhere between three to four minutes, or until the syrup thickens.

Let it cool, whisking every five minutes to ensure the bacon fat doesn't separate and ruin it. Once it's room temperature, you're in the clear.

Refrigerate it, making sure to warm it just before serving.

Part Five: Assemble the Panna Cotta

Pour just enough bacon-maple syrup over the corn panna cotta. Tada! You're the frontrunner for Season 3.


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