Corn Pudding - The Second in an Erstwhile Series of American Classics

So. It’s official. I am now musselled out. After two straight days of seafood based food, I can eat no more. I think that the peroxide stench emanating from the Shark (now renamed Marilyn) was the final nail in the proverbial foodie coffin.
Time to rethink the menu then, and in the meantime some cosy dishes to make me forget that it’s gale force winds outside and that it’s another whole year until Christmas.
Actually, I’m glad Christmas only occurs once a year. It completely discombobulates my cooking routine and it still hasn’t quite recovered, hence the more-than-usual smattering of posts by Paul instead of myself.
Also, it is one heck of a long time until payday again (having been paid before Christmas Eve) and we’ve only just hit double figures for the month of January so I’m having to be frugally inventive once again (hence meatloaf). Not to worry though. To paraphrase what should be a Frank Zappa quote but probably isn’t, poverty is the mother of all invention.
When I visited America recently, amongst our not inconsiderable haul of booty I brought back some creamed corn. It doesn’t sound like the most glamorous of ingredients to ferret out but I find it impossible to buy creamed corn in Essex and sometimes you’ve gotta get ingredients when and where you can, and to hell with the weight restrictions.
I love sweetcorn in all its permutations. I eat it cold from the tin. I love corn muffins. I have just discovered the joy of Corn Nuts (an over-priced but nonetheless delicious crunchy delicacy imported from the US), I gnaw cobs clean of their yellow nuggets, just like in old Warner Bros cartoons, in record speed time. I adore its naturally sweet flavour, the crisp pop in your mouth and the comforting starchiness that it coats your tongue with. There is only one place in my diet that you will never find sweetcorn and that is with the unholy alliance that is so popular in petrol station sandwiches: sweetcorn twinned with tuna. What I might refer to as an aborration of food combining.
My favourite way to eat sweetcorn though, other than from the tin, is in pudding form. This is not a sweet pudding but it does have a savoury custard base that suspends the tiny yellow kernals within its creamy belly.
I have experimented with a number of Sweetcorn Puddings: Nigella Lawson has one in Nigella Bites , but I found that to be too flabby, not quite fulfilling enough. My mothers recipe requested that the pudding mixture be fried in oil, like fritters, so barely even counts (although they still tasted great). However, I have found what I think is the best Sweetcorn Pudding recipe ever. It is well seasoned, flavoured with onion, parsley (the original recipe called for Basil Leaves but I felt that they would too pungent a flavour - the parsley is perfect though) and made richer still with the addition of Ricotta Cheese and Single Cream. The inspired further addition of Cornmeal heightens the corny flavour perfectly.
It is a solid pudding, not wobbly like scrambled eggs and is perfect with ham (as we served ours).
SAGAPONACK CORN PUDDING (adapted from Barefooot Goddess Family Style), Serves 4
20g Butter
2 and a half Cups Sweetcorn (fresh is best but I used tinned)
1 Small Onion, finely chopped
2 Large Eggs
1/2 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Single or Double Cream
1/4 Cup Cornmeal
1/2 Cup Ricotta Cheese
Small Bunch Parsley, chopped
1/2 Tablespoon Caster Sugar
1/2 Tablespoon Salt
Good Grind of Fresh Pepper
1/2 Cup Grated Strong Cheddar
Preheat Oven to 175c.
Grease a baking dish, about 1 Litre Capacity.
In a frying pan, melt the butter over a gently heat and saute the onion. Add the corn and sweat the two together for about 3-4 minutes. Do not let burn. The corn will release some of its starchy sweetness into the butter. Leave to cool slightly.
Whisk together the eggs, milk and cream in a large bowl. Whisk in the cornmeal, then the ricotta, making sure it is lump-free.
Add the Parsley, sugar, salt and pepper, then the corn/onion mixture. Mix well. Add 2/3 of the grated cheese and pour into the greased baking dish. Sprinkle over the remaining cheddar.
Place in a slightly larger dish and fill the larger dish with water, halfway up the side of the smaller dish. This will allow the pudding to poach and become a tremblingly tender custard rather than a lump of eggy rubber!
Cook for about 40 minutes or until it has started to brown and a knife comes out clean.
Serve with ham!


Kathryn said...

Another pudding! You are brave with these waterbaths. It looks really good. I've never made a sweetcorn pudding. I like Bill Granger's sweetcorn cakes with avocado salsa (have you tried those?) - I nearly murdered them but they worked in the end.

I can get seafooded out too, more in winter than summer, curiously. I'm about to email you btw.

Kathryn x

Writing At The Kitchen Table said...

Hi Kathryn! I do love puddings! This waterbath was a little one, just a bit bigger than the dish I cooked it so I could just about handle that!!
The sweetcorn cakes sound yummy! Might give them a go (despite them being Bill Granger...)
Freya x

Anonymous said...

Fernando Millan Sandoval - From Mazatlan, Mexico. Right now in La Crosse, WI

You have to check my post that I put in the Mexican food entry.

dick said...

Your corn pudding is much like my mother's from West Virginia. The difference is that where you used cornmeal, she used crushed saltines. She also added a little celery to hers which added a nice flavor. That was one of my favorite foods when I was growing up. Fond memories since she has been gone for 35 years now. I still make it and agree that it goes beautifully with ham. It also goes well with Southern fried chicken.

Writing At The Kitchen Table said...

Hi Dick!
I love saltines but we can't buy them over here. The nearest we have are thicker crackers that aren't salted so not really the same thing at all!
I like the addition of celery too!
Thanks for the comment!