Snack Attack: Sweet Corn Spooncake at Alden & Harlow
Local corn definitely has a place at Alden & Harlow in the summertime, whether it’s in the pickled corn pancakes or the corn and cheese fritters. If you finish your dinner with enough room, though, it can also comprise your dessert.
Pastry chef Kenny Hoshino sought to pair sweet and maize-y when he developed the recipe for Alden & Harlow’s sweet corn spooncake last year. After a winter hiatus, the gluten-free treat returned to the restaurant’s menu in June, once local corn became available again.
The dessert’s name says it all: the base is made with corn from Verril Farms in Concord, plus cornmeal from Anson Mills out of South Carolina. And you definitely need utensils to eat it.
“The cake is very delicate and borders on a custard that needs to be ‘spooned’ on to the plate,” Hoshino says.
To add another layer of flavor, the dessert is served with candied hazelnuts for a salty crunch, and fresh blackberries and blackberry mousse for an acidic tinge. The dish is finished with pink peppercorn honey for some additional sweetness and spice, and a few dollops of whipped cream for good measure.
“It has the same comforting, nostalgic flavors of traditional cornbread, but the mousse and ripe fruit elements give it some fun textural contrast and fresh flavors,” Hoshino says.
While this is the only iteration of spooncake currently available at the restaurant, Hoshino is brainstorming other spins on it, including a version with grilled peaches, bourbon butterscotch, and pecan pralines, inspired by his time living in South Carolina.
Since the spooncake’s staying power is dependent on the seasonal corn, he only expects it to stick around another few weeks, so swing by the Harvard Square spot and snack on it while you can.
$9, Alden & Harlow, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, 617-864-2100, aldenharlow.com.