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Help getting silky smooth purees

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hello, was hoping i could get some tips here on the best methods for making nice smooth purees.  I've long stuggled to make them.  I made a few attempts today to make a roasted corn puree for a scallop dish im making.  I always end up with either some creamed corn mealy junk or a pool of corn flavored cream.  I cant seem to get anything close to a nice smooth pureed consistency.  I'm sure the issue is technique and execution.

 

I started with some shallots i cooked in some butter, cut corn off the cob, mixed it in a bit, seasoned it then roasted it in the over until done.  I then transfered that to a blender,added a touch of stock and a bit of cream and pureed.  it was very grainy and i think i added too much liquid as it was very soupy.  after straining i was left with a bowl of liquid and a sieve full of corn guts  mad.gif  i then tried to add some liquid to said guts and puree and strain that, but it just compounded the issue

 

Second attempt i cooked the corn the same way, transfered to a bowl, slowly added stock and cream and milk and took an immersion blender to it.  this did a better job making a mess of the surrounding area then it did a puree.  the immersion blender couldnt seem to really get the job done unless i added so much liquid that it again became soupy.  frown.gif

 

My desired result is something silky and smooth like so:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-oOqQUi5EN0g/UAGXairMJgI/AAAAAAAAAoE/eiZU7bchvAw/s1600/3.jpg

 

Not sure where I am going wrong, would GREATLY appreciate if someone could help me out with the proper technique and maybe the proper ratio of corn to liquid and which liquids to use.  My idea was basically a corn puree spoon push kind of thing with some poblano risotto spooned over it with some seared scallops on top topped with a shrimp/avocodoa salad kind of garnish.  looked to good in my head, not so great in reality

 

HELP!

 

-JM

post #2 of 15

Strain it: chinois, sieve, tamis...

 

 

 

 

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post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your response!

 

I have passed it through a chinois and a fine mesh strainer, forcing it through with a rubber spatchula.  Looking at those photos it appears my errors preceed the straining step, as what i have looks absolutely nothing like that second photo prior to straining.

 

i have more of a soupy mixture, and once strained im left with corn flavored water on one end and corn guts on the other.  

 

I assume im not blending properly, or not adding the proper ingredients to the corn prior to or after blending?

post #4 of 15

I think that perhaps your problem was that you didn't cook the corn with a cream to begin with. Instead you added the cream to the food processor.

 

 

Take a look:

 

http://chefandsommelier.blogspot.com/2013/04/scallops-with-sweetcorn-puree-and.html

 

although that seems more like a sauce than a "puree", but i think if you use that same process with your recipe, which i'm guessing is from that guys blog, it might come out better.

 

Have you thought of contacting the blogger and asking him how he did it?

 

I've pureed veggies before, but never corn. I can imagine the issues since  corn is very watery.

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

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“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

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post #5 of 15

If you have or can borrow one, I would also try a food mill rather than a blender,. 

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks ill try cooking the corn with some cream before the blender, and maybe cut back a bit on the amount of cream he uses to get it thicker.  keep your fingers crossed :)

 

@ChicagoTerry - a food mill is one of the few kitched gadgets i dont own... 

post #7 of 15

I will, good luck! let us know how it turns out.

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

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“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

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post #8 of 15

You (probably) have WAY TOO MUCH liquid. 

 

Add the corn and shallots to a sturdy blender with just enough cream so the solids will flow into the blades.  Puree until you can't puree any finer and the mixture is as homogenous as it will get.  Then and only then, if and only if the puree is too stiff, add more cream, a bit at a time, with the motor running, until you reach the desired consistency.  

 

Pass the puree with a sieve only after it's as finely pureed as you can get it in the blender.  The purpose of sieving is not so much to separate out any solids (the blender should have creamed them into the puree, but to knock down air bubbles and give your puree a velvety texture.

 

As a sort of side note which should help you conceptualize -- Creamed corn is made by pureeing (aka "creaming") raw corn kernels, then cooking the puree with whole corn kernels and some seasoning.  There's enough liquid in the raw kernels to make the "sauce."  No cream is actually necessary. 

 

Because you're roasting the corn before you puree, and losing some moisture in the process, you'll have to restore it by adding some other liquid in as small amount as necessary.  Cream is only one of several good choices. 

 

However, I'm not quite sure what you're intending with your roasted corn puree.  Depending on use, you might think about pureeing the corn before cooking it.     

 

BDL

post #9 of 15

In my experience when trying to get a smooth puree, it is better to add to much liquid, rather than not enough, in order to ensure that everything purees sufficiently. Then after sieving through a fine chinois, simply reduce the liquid to the desired consistency.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #10 of 15
In my experience when trying to get a smooth puree, it is better to add to much liquid, rather than not enough, in order to ensure that everything purees sufficiently. Then after sieving through a fine chinois, simply reduce the liquid to the desired consistency.

Good point Layne. 

 

Whether you choose to use as little liquid as possible to create the desired consistency as I suggested, or use too much liquid to achieve complete disintegration of the solids and then correct for looseness by reduction will depend on whether you can cook the loose puree enough to reduce it to the desired stiffness without over-cooking the ingredient(s) pureed.

 

They're both valid, useful techniques.  You should choose one or the other on the basis of what you're trying to accomplish.  If I wanted a super fresh, bright taste as for fresh corn, asparagus, broccoli, etc., I'd keep the volume of liquid as little as possible, then correct consistency by adding more liquid as necessary.  If I were going for something rounder and richer, where stock, wine or liquor were a big part of the puree's flavor, I'd reduce, reduce, reduce.  

 

BDL

post #11 of 15
Quote:

Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

 

whether you can cook the loose puree enough to reduce it to the desired stiffness without over-cooking the ingredient(s) pureed.

 

To me, once you have pureed the ingredient, the danger of over-cooking the ingredient is removed. You retain the full flavor of the ingredient without a loss of freshness or color. I have done this successfully with purees of broccoli, asparagus, and spinach that stay bright and vibrant.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #12 of 15

One initial thing is crucial in making a smooth purée; your product has to be boiled until completely soft, which means it has to boil longer than usual. For instance; potatoes are boiled in 20 minutes, but to make a nice smooth potato purée, you need to boil longer. Simply crush a bit of product between index and thumb to feel how "done" it is.

 

Boil the product in salty water, check doneness, strain, put in a narrow container (the one that's usually included with your stick mixer). Add very little cream and mix with the stick mixer until smooth. Push through a tamis or other fine sieve, taste and season. Do not use a stick mixer when working with potatoes; they will turn into a thick glue.

 

Personally I wouldn't do it, but you could cook corn in cream but then also sieve first, then put in the container, add just a little of the cooking liquid and proceed as above.

 

In Europe, most self-respecting restaurants now use a Thermomix (produced by Vorwerk). It's a machine that found its way to modern kitchens thanks to the molecular kitchens. Some homecooks in my country are now starting to use this (pricey!) machine too. It cooks at temperatures from 37°-100°C while it's able to mix at 40-10000 rpm (yes, you read well, 10000 rpm!). Absolutely perfect for making emulsion sauces like mayo, hollandaise, béarnaise etc.

Many times it's used for making gels and, it produces almost 100% smooth purées...

 

Here's a video;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeJGXyqsBNQ

post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 

 

They're both valid, useful techniques.  You should choose one or the other on the basis of what you're trying to accomplish.  If I wanted a super fresh, bright taste as for fresh corn, asparagus, broccoli, etc., I'd keep the volume of liquid as little as possible, then correct consistency by adding more liquid as necessary.

 

 

Thanks everyone for all the super helpful insight and advice.... I was able to get the consistency and flavor i was looking for in my puree :)

 

I ended up using a bit more corn since it was mentioned above i likely had way too much liquid... so more corn to give me more solid to work with... then cooked the corn and some shallots in a pan with some butter and very little cream until it came together and thickened a bit.  I didn't use much liquid since the quote above mentioned going this route for a "fresher" taste, which I desired.  I then transferred that all to a plender and let it run for a good minute or so before passing it through a sieve... this was very encouraging as the result was a nice silky puree!  problem was there wasnt a ton of it... i returned what didnt make it through the sieve back to the pan with mroe crem and butter, cooked and repeated the process until almost all the corn passed through a sieve.  

 

I then put the whole batch back in the pan and reduced it a bit, one more time through a sieve and BAM!  silky smooth puree!

 

Thanks so much for all of the tips and suggestions, it really made a world of a difference and turned frustration into what is sure to be a very yummy dinner tonite!

post #14 of 15

That's awesome. I'm so glad it worked out for you. It's inspired me to make corn puree someday soon.

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

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“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

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post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollopicu View Post

That's awesome. I'm so glad it worked out for you. It's inspired me to make corn puree someday soon.

Thanks.  

 

I must say it is pretty darned tasty... now the problem is hoping it lasts til dinner wink.gif

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