August 29, 2012

The Maine Ingredient: Corn pudding takes kernels to perfection

By Brooke Dojny

When you've had your fill of fresh local corn on-the-cob, you might like to try this corn pudding – a recipe that I've worked hard to perfect and have (I hope) finally succeeded. I puree half the kernels, boosting the corn flavor as well as helping to thicken the pudding, then add just a tiny bit of flour and cook the mixture some before it goes into the oven. Cheese and cream add richness. It's a perfect side dish with anything grilled or it can be turned into a substantial-enough main dish with the addition of a bit of meat.

 

CREAMY CORN PUDDING

To cut corn off the cob, stand the ear on its flat end and use a large knife to cut off kernels. A few kernels will no doubt go flying around the kitchen. This pudding is best made with fresh corn but you can substitute frozen corn kernels in a pinch and shorten the precooking by a couple of minutes.

Servings: 4 

2 cups corn kernels (cut from 2 to 3 ears)

2 tablespoons butter

½ cup chopped onion

2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

1 cup heavy or whipping cream

2 large eggs

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon liquid hot pepper sauce 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 1½-quart baking dish. 

In a food processor, puree half the corn kernels. 

Melt the butter in a large saucepan or deep skillet. Add the onion and cook over medium-high heat until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the corn and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Sprinkle on the flour and cook, whisking, for 2 minutes. Add the cream, raise heat to high, and cook, whisking, for 2 minutes.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs. Whisk in about 1 cup of the corn mixture to temper the eggs, then stir the egg mixture back into the mixture in the pan. Stir in the cheese and season with the sugar, salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce. Scrape into the prepared dish. Place the baking dish in a larger pan and fill halfway up the sides with boiling water to make a water bath. 

Bake in the preheated oven until a knife inserted about two-thirds of the way to the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve from the baking dish. 

VARIATIONS: 

Use a Mexican cheese blend and add about ½ cup roasted and diced peppers such as poblanos or Anaheims for a Southwestern variation. 

Spread a thin layer of cooked greens (spinach or any other) in the bottom of the baking dish and add 1 cup diced ham to make a dish with a Southern flavor. 

Use shredded pizza cheese and add a clove of minced garlic, about ¾ cup of small-diced pepperoni, and 3 tablespoons slivered basil for an Italian twist.

 

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently "Lobster!" (Storey, 2012). She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted via Facebook at: facebook.com/brookedojny

 

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