We often hear it called cornstarch, but it is also known as cornstarch. A word that is not really common, but that is affirming itself day after day. Cornstarch and cornstarch, therefore, indicate the same preparation: a very fine white flour, used very often in cooking and in cosmetics, which derives, in fact, from the processing of corn. It is precisely the process by which cornstarch is obtained that makes it different from corn flour: the latter is obtained by dry grinding of corn grains, while cornstarch is obtained by means of a wet grinding process.
Cornstarch or potato starch?
Very often cornstarch is confused with potato starch, in fact, their similar possibilities of use in the kitchen lead to believe that the two products are the same thing. Obviously, this is not the case: as we have already said, cornstarch is a product derived from the grain of corn while starch is obtained from the dry extraction of potato starch.
How to use cornstarch in the kitchen?
Although cornstarch and potato starch are both used in the kitchen with the aim of thickening some dishes or binding the sauces without altering their flavor, their use also has differences: the potato starch can be amalgamated as it is with the ingredients before cooking while for optimal use of cornstarch it is necessary first to dissolve it in water and then add it to the other ingredients.
Cornstarch in the kitchen: recipes and tips
Cornstarch has always been considered a valid ally in the kitchen because with its good thickening power it is perfect for preparing sauces, creams, puddings, and even ice creams. But not only: in fact, cornstarch is often used in addition to the classic flour in the preparation of cakes, muffins, and biscuits, as a “trick” to make desserts softer and more crumbly.
The peculiarities of cornstarch
Another great advantage of cornstarch is the complete absence of gluten in it. This peculiarity makes it perfect to be used in the kitchen of celiacs and gluten intolerants, who often use it as a replacement for traditional flour even in the most classic preparations. But let’s see together some examples of recipes where the use of cornstarch will guarantee you excellent results.
The recipe for custard with cornstarch
This is how to prepare a tasty custard perfect for filling cakes and puffs prepared gluten-free.
•5 egg yolks
•500 ml milk
•40 gr of cornstarch
•120 gr of sugar
•1 vanilla pod
Preparation: The first thing you need to do to prepare the custard is to pour the milk into a saucepan together with the vanilla pod and heat it until it almost reaches a boil. Meanwhile, in a bowl separate the egg yolks from the egg whites, add sugar to the yolks, and with an electric mixer mix the two ingredients until you get a clear and frothy mixture. It will take at least 5 minutes. After that remove the milk from the heat and let it cool slightly. Now pour a part of the milk into the mixture of egg yolks and sugar and mix with a whisk.
Once the milk is absorbed, sift the cornstarch inside the mixture and mix very carefully with the whisk so that lumps do not form. Now pour the mixture into the saucepan with the remaining milk and bring everything back to low heat. Continue to stir with the whisk so that lumps do not form and the cream does not burn on the bottom (I recommend the flame must below). Continue like this for about 5-7 minutes, in this time the cornstarch will thicken your custard. Once the right consistency is reached, remove the cream from the heat, pour it into a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap in contact with the surface of the cream and let it cool before using it to stuff your desserts.
The recipe for sponge cake with cornstarch
Here is a recipe for cooking a perfect sponge cake that will allow you to amaze even the gluten-intolerant friend who comes to dinner tonight with you:
•5 eggs at room temperature
•150 gr of cornstarch
•150 gr of sugar
•1 vanilla pod
Preparation: Start the preparation of gluten-free sponge cake by breaking the eggs in the bowl of the planetary mixer. Add the sugar and with the whisk hook operate the planetary mixer. The mixture of eggs and sugars will be whipped for at least 15 minutes, you will notice that it is ready when it has taken on light yellow color and will be fluffy and fluffy. At this point open the vanilla pod, obtain the seeds with the tip of a knife and pour them into the whipped mixture and mix gently to mix them. Now sift through the cornstarch and add it to the mixture, mix with a wooden spoon from bottom to top being very careful not to “disassemble” it. Meanwhile, preheat the static oven to 180 degrees. Prepare a 24 cm hinged mold greased and floured with cornstarch and pour, always very gently, the dough obtained. Bake the sponge cake for 30/40 minutes without ever opening the oven door otherwise, the sponge cake is likely to deflate.
The recipe for panna cotta with cornstarch
A quick and always appreciated dessert is the panna cotta! Let’s see how to prepare a delicious version without having to resort to isinglass:
Ingredients for 4 servings:
•250 gr of fresh cream
•250 gr of milk
•1 vanilla pod
•75 gr of sugar
•30 gr of cornstarch
•Berries and dark chocolate to decorate
Preparation: The recipe for panna cotta is very simple! First, pour the milk and cream into a non-stick saucepan. Engrave the vanilla bean with a knife and add that too. Continue by adding the sugar and sifted cornstarch and mix very well with a whisk to mix everything without creating lumps. Place the saucepan on medium-low heat and always stirring with the whisk bring the mixture to a boil. From that moment let it cook for another 3-4 minutes until you see that it begins to thicken and then remove the panna cotta from the heat. Pour it immediately into 4 cups or 4 molds, disposable aluminum ones are also fine.
Let it cool and then put the molds or cups in the refrigerator to rest for at least 5 hours. If you use the cups your panna cotta will already be ready to serve, if instead you use aluminum molds just remove them from the fridge and wait a few minutes, then make 4 cuts at the edge of the molds with scissors so as to facilitate the descent of the panna cotta and gently turn the molds upside down on the dessert plate: doing so the panna cotta will detach from the molds without breaking.
How to serve it
A delicious idea to serve panna cotta to your diners is to accompany it with fresh blueberries or dark chocolate melted in a water bath. Or you can prepare a simple hot sauce by putting berries to cook for a few minutes with a tablespoon of sugar and a splash of lemon juice so as to get a perfect accompaniment to your panna cotta without isinglass.
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