There's corn-soaked milk and corn kernel juice and roasted corn husk and corn cob broth

Credit: Photo courtesy Trifecta Tavern & Bakery

Corn is one of those farmers market stars that just isn’t as good all year 'round. Like tomatoes and berries, corn will be fine mid-winter, but not nearly as perfect as it is during peak season, July through October. Ken Forkish, owner of Trifecta Tavern & Bakery in Portland, Oregon, knows just how special fresh corn is, and he wanted to create ways to use the whole thing, kernels to cob. So he developed a corn croissant, which incorporates about as much corn as one could possibly imagine.

Forkish told me in an email that he starts with his basic croissant dough formula, but then things get more exciting. Step one: juice. “We hydrate the dough with corn juice from fresh kernels that we run through a juicer,” Forkish said. Next, two more corny liquids make their way into the mix: Forkish makes a concentrated broth from bare corn cobs and soaks corn silks in milk overnight. Both the starchy cob broth and the silk-milk are used in the dough instead of plain water or milk. When Forkish said he wanted to use the whole corn, he wasn’t kidding. And if you had any doubt about that, wait until you hear the last corn-based element of the croissant dough. “We roast the corn husks in the bread oven until they are pretty dark, and grind them, then toss the ground roasted husk into the dough,” Forkish said. Right after the croissants come out of the oven, Forkish has a bit of fun—to hit every possible corn note, he brushes the pastries with a bourbon glaze.

Surprisingly, adding all these corn liquids doesn’t affect the delicate pastry dough. According to Forkish, while whole kernels might pose a problem texturally, their juice blends in seamlessly, as does the roasted husk (aside from a few dark flecks in the dough, which is actually quite stunning).

Though it was important to Forkish to stop tossing most of an ear of corn into the compost bin, he didn’t necessarily want to hit you over the head with corn flavor after a bite. “It is subtle, and I think it’s more present on the nose than the palate,” he said. “Still, corn and butter? It’s peaches and cream to me.”