A hearty side dish hailing from the Deep South, corn pudding has a place at any table. Corn pudding is infinitely adaptable, allowing you to make it from either canned and boxed ingredients, or from fresh corn and special additions. In fact, tossing in a bit of bacon or ham can transform corn pudding into a one-dish meal. If you're craving a starchy dessert, however, turn to the "other" corn pudding, which uses corn meal and sweetening agents rather than kernels and savory ones.
No matter what kind of special add-ins you use in your corn pudding, or how upscale the main ingredients, a basic corn pudding involves suspending whole or pureed corn kernels in a custard-like mix of milk and eggs, which is then stiffened with corn meal or white flour. Some recipes call for ingredients that make for a fluffier pudding, such as baking soda, sour cream or buttermilk. A grated cheddar cheese topping is also typical. Corn pudding usually takes about one hour in a 350 to 375 degree Fahrenheit oven, and should have a creamy consistency that sets it apart from its drier, sliceable cousin, corn bread.
For the sweetest, freshest taste, consider basing your pudding on corn from freshly-shucked ears. Pureeing all or some of the kernels imparts extra creaminess. Among the special touches you can add to your corn pudding are savory proteins like sliced ham or crumbled bacon. Mushrooms also add an upscale touch, especially if they are chanterelles or another gourmet kind. Instead of cheddar, consider using another type of cheese to complement the other dishes at the meal. For color and taste, add chopped fresh herbs, red onions or sweet peppers, or even grated carrots and parsnips.
Corn pudding can come together in minutes on nights when you need to turn to convenience foods like canned corn and packaged cornbread mix. One standard recipe using boxed cornbread mix calls for one can each of whole and creamed corn, but you can certainly use just one kind of kernel if you prefer. Alternatively, use frozen corn, pre-shredded cheese, dried parsley and white flour, as well as a topping of store-bought bread crumbs. If you have time, toss in extras such as microwaved bacon.
Let's Be Hasty
While corn pudding usually refers to the savory side dish, in some areas it is an alternate name for the sweet dessert also known as Indian pudding or American hasty pudding. This type of corn pudding is based on cornmeal, which is boiled with water or milk and a pinch of salt, before being combined with molasses and eggs, as well as spices like cloves and cinnamon. Indian corn pudding bakes slowly in the oven or a slow cooker. Some people add dried fruits like raisins or cranberries, and top individual servings with ice cream or whipped cream.
- The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink; Andrew F. Smith
- Epicurious: Corn Pudding
- Serious Eats: Corn Pudding
- Betty Crocker: Classic Corn Pudding
- RecipeTips: Corn Pudding Recipe
- Bon Appetit: Corn Pudding With Mushrooms and Ham
- Ball State University: Classic Recipes -- Jiffy Corn Pudding
- Yankee Magazine: Indian Pudding
- Photo Credit View Stock/View Stock/Getty Images
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