Let’s talk about my obsession with corn.
Corn reminds me of Mexico – as simple as that. It reminds me of the evenings I would spend walking around el zócalo with an elote or esquite in hand. It reminds me of street tacos late at night. It reminds me of the corn fields lining the highway when going somewhere out of town. As weird as it may sound, corn always seems to trigger memories in this little head of mine that immediately transport me back home. No wonder I’m a tiny bit obsessed with it.
When I was designing the initial menu for Metate Bake Shop, I knew there had to be a corn-based product on there (obviously!). I experimented with a few ideas and recipes here and there. However, I soon encountered a bit of a technical problem/barrier: corn in Canada is not the same as corn in Mexico. Corn here in Canada is sweeter and less starchy. Anyone who has tried making their grandma’s pastel de elote here in Canada and has failed miserably knows exactly what I mean. Corn here just doesn’t work with Mexican recipes without some serious tweaking – especially dessert recipes.
After much experimenting and frustration, I settled on pan de elote as corn’s official representative on Metate Bake Shop’s menu. I played around with a few recipes and finally managed to come up with one I was happy with. This recipe I’m sharing with you today is by no means the traditional one you would find your abuela making. However, I think it still perfectly captures the essence of what pan de elote is supposed to be: corn goodness in dessert form. And, most importantly, it works with the ingredients we have readily available here in Canada.
This recipe will give you a more bread-like end product than your traditional pan de elote, which tends to be almost flan-like. Think of this pan de elote as banana bread but made with corn rather than bananas. It’ll be soft, moist and (interestingly enough!), it will make your entire kitchen smell like caramel popcorn when it’s baking in the oven. Hope you like it!
Here’s what you’ll need to make this delicious pan de elote:
- 230g butter, room temperature
- 450g sugar
- 200g sour cream, room temperature
- 500g corn kernels, preferably from fresh corn
- 2 eggs
- 5g vanilla extract
- 625g all-purpose flour
- 12g baking powder
- 12g baking soda
- 12g salt
- Prepare loaf pan: Spray loaf pan with cooking oil and line with parchment paper. You can also use a 9×9 baking pan if you prefer a square shape.
- Cream butter: Using the paddle attachment, use your mixer to cream butter and sugar together until it lightens in colour. Add sour cream and mix again until fluffy and light. Set aside.
- Puree corn: Using a blender, puree corn, eggs and vanilla extract. I like to keep my corn puree chunky so that you can see and feel the corn but you can process it in the blender to your preferred texture. Set aside.
- Combine dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.
- Bring everything together: Add corn pure to butter mixture gradually while mixing. Once corn is well incorporated, add dry ingredients and mix until everything just comes together. Be careful not to overmix.
- Bake: Add pan de elote batter to you prepared pan and bake at 325F for 40-45 minutes. Check how your pan de elote is doing in the oven after 30 minutes as baking time will depend on your oven. Let it cool down for 10-15 minutes before you take it out of the pan. Enjoy!
When it comes to pastries, presentation does matter. I’m not going to lie. I tried selling pan de elote at Metate Bake Shop’s first pop up and it looked something like the picture below. It was delicious but it did not do well at its first appearance in public, to say the least. People not familiar with pan de elote were turned off by the idea of having corn in something other than classic Tex-Mex cornbread and presentation was not helping my case.
My next attempt at making pan de elote my bestselling item at farmers’ markets looked something like the picture below. I baked the batter into tiny, adorable loaves and topped them with a rosette of dulce de leche buttercream and mazapan crumble. Cute, right? Unfortunately, allergy concerns soon came up since mazapan is a peanut-based product. Argh, back to the drawing board. I was not giving up on pan de elote. No, señor!
I liked the mini loaf idea so that was here to stay. I thought about filling them with custard or maybe dipping them in a salted caramel ganache. Maybe a drizzle of something on top? Hmmm. I ended up going with wrapping them in corn husk as shown in the picture below. In my mind (at 3am in a hot kitchen), tying them with corn husk like little gifts would be like giving the world the gift of corn. Haha. Yup, this and some other “interesting” ideas would often cross my mind when I was baking overnight during summer market season. Anyway! The end result was simple yet adorable, don’t you think? I loved them!
It was a ton of fun to make these little guys for the past couple of years. Now, it’s your turn! Have fun with it and tag me as @metatebakeshop on Instagram or Metate Bake Shop on Facebook. I want to see how yours turn out 🙂