Optimally, this recipe is made in pressure cooker. However, excellent results can be achieved on the stove top.
Shuck the corn, cut the kernels off each ear reserving them and any liquid in a large bowl. Cut the cobs in half and reserve. In a 8+ quart pressure cooker or stock pot, saute 2/3 of the sliced shallots for five minutes or until slightly golden in 1/4 cup of olive oil of your choice. Add the garlic and thyme, and saute for another minute, making sure that the garlic does not brown.
To the pressure cooker or stock pot add the stock, cut corn, and cut cobs. If using a pressure cooker, cook under pressure for 15 minutes. If cooking via stove top, simmer the pot gently over low heat for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, saute the remaining shallot in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until caramelized and fragrant and reserve.
At the end of the cooking process, remove the cobs and bay leaf and add the cream (if using). In a food processor or blender, process the entire contents of the pressure cooker/pot in batches. The liquid will be scalding hot so be very careful!
Strain through a fine mesh strainer discarding any corn particulate and adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately topped with minced chives, caramelized shallots, ground pepper, and a nice drizzle of throat catching UP EVOO.