Today is the last day of Food Network’s #FallFest and we are all sharing our favorite produce-based holiday side dishes. I have a beautiful, sweet and spicy side dish that is one of my most requested recipes. This corn pudding is a tribute to the classic Southern dish with a little Southwestern kick thrown in for fun.
Adding a touch of something sweet to your holiday meals will always thrill the children (or children at heart) at the table. I like the flavor of corn, which is naturally sweet, combined with the gentle heat of poblano peppers. If you want, you can leave out the sugar and take this totally savory. If you are serving a large prime rib roast, try serving this in place of the traditional Yorkshire pudding. Make your meal a bit more “American” with one side dish, LOL!
This casserole bakes up with a beautiful golden topping that is a little crunchy. I love breaking through it to expose the tender, sweet pudding/cake beneath, releasing the captivating aromas. It is fun to watch my guest’s eyes light up when they spy the beautiful golden dish on the buffet. For some it is their first time having it and they politely take a small portion. But once they taste it, they quickly excuse themselves to go back and get a larger portion. Nothing makes me happier or brings a bigger smile to my face!
I am a big fan of including something a little sweet when you are planning a party menu. You want to cover all the flavors, salty, sweet, sour, and bitter. These wake up our taste buds, making them more receptive to the other savory items. I got this practice of including sweetness from my mother who also loved this, probably a carry-over from her Indiana roots.
Both my parents grew up in rural Indiana where they grow some of the finest corn in the country. My favorite variety is Silver Queen, with pearly white kernels that are tender and naturally sweet. Just the thought of eating ear after ear of this beautiful corn has my mouth watering. It is nearly impossible to find in California, so I get by with what I can find at the farmer’s market. Try to buy non-GMO corn if possible.
Corn has been cultivated for thousands of years, probably originating in central Mexico at least 7000 years ago. It was developed from a wild grass called teosinte. Dried kernels were traded and traveled north into the current United States and south from Mexico to the area known as Peru. The dried seed can be sprouted for planting and often feeds an entire population.
Corn is a remarkable plant and food source. Virtually every part of it can be utilized, it was one of the first renewable food sources. In addition to eating fresh, the kernels can be dried and ground into a flour-like substance used to make tortillas and cornmeal products called masa harina. The dried corn husks can be used as a wrapping for tamales and are often made into primitive dolls. The primary use for corn continues to be feed for livestock, while about 30% is used for industrial and commercial uses and 10% is exported. Corn has over 100 by-products being produced which include dyes, paints, oil for soaps, syrups, starches, corn gum (used as a rubber substitute), vegetable substitutes for lard and butter, insulating materials, and various chemicals.
There are many ways to utilize corn and corn products. Some recipes include cornbread, corn cakes (also called Johnny cakes or hoecakes in the South), corn pudding, creamed corn, succotash, soup, and of course straight corn on the cob. Corn has, in one form or another, graced Thanksgiving dinners since 1621. One of the earliest American desserts was a concoction of cornmeal, milk and molasses called cornmeal mush or hasty pudding. The literary society of Harvard has been called the “Hasty Pudding Club” since 1795.
While this pudding is best straight out of the oven when the crust is crunchy and hot, it reheats well and can be made in advance. If you are looking for an item to bring to a holiday dinner, barbecue, or potluck dinner, this travels beautifully and only needs a little reheating prior to serving.
Check the links below to see all of the amazing recipes my friends have shared today and check out our Pinterest page for the full collection!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
While using fresh chiles is preferable and gives a much fresher flavor, if you cannot find poblano peppers easily, drained canned mild green chiles are a good substitute. Always taste them in the can to judge their heat level and use as much as you and your family like. If you want more heat, add a minced jalapeno to the poblanos.
If members of your family struggle with the increased fiber of whole corn, you can make a creamier version. Add one additional can of the creamed corn and reduce corn kernels to 3/4 cup.
Use the recommended gluten-free flour blend with xanthan gum. If your blend does not include xanthan, add 1/4 tsp to help the pudding hold together. Masa harina is naturally gluten-free, but always check the label if your family has severe reactions.
Always check to understand your guests level of sensitivity. Del Monte brand creamed corn is gluten-free. All General Mills products will disclose any gluten-containing ingredients on their labels. They may not be able to legally label their products as gluten-free due to possible cross-contamination from sourcing and manufacturing practices. If you are cooking for people with lower sensitivities, these products should be acceptable.
Sweet & Spicy Corn Pudding
© 2013 Jane Bonacci, The Heritage Cook. All rights reserved.
Inspired by a recipe from 12 Bones Smokehouse
Yield: 10 to 14 servings
1 cup all-purpose flour or GF flour blend with xanthan gum (if mix doesn’t contain xanthan, add 1/4 tsp)
3/4 cup masa harina
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder (gluten-free if needed)
2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
2 cups heavy cream
1 (14 oz) can of creamed corn (see Gluten-Free Tips above)
2 fresh poblano peppers, seeded and diced finely
2 green onions, tough tops discarded, finely chopped
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
Chopped chives or additional green onions, for garnish
Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter an 11×15-inch rectangular pan, sometimes called a lasagna pan, or two smaller baking pans.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, masa harina, sugar, baking powder, salt, cumin, coriander, and cardamom. If using gluten-free flour without xanthan gum, add it now. Whisk together until evenly blended.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the eggs, butter, cream, and creamed corn. Mix until smooth. Add the poblanos, onions, and corn, beating quickly just until combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. It will be a thick but pourable batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place it in the hot oven. (If using more than one pan, place them on a baking sheet for easier handling.) Lightly tent with foil. Bake until the center is just set in the center, about 1 hour (30 to 40 minutes for smaller pans). After 45 minutes, remove the foil so the top will be golden and slightly crunchy. When done, remove from the oven and set aside to cool for about 15 minutes.
Scoop servings onto plates with a large serving spoon. Sprinkle the chives over the tops and serve hot.
NOTE 1: This will puff up in the oven and then settle back when it cools; leave enough room for this. You may need an extra small dish to take the leftover. Place them on a baking sheet for easiest handling.
NOTE 2: For smaller gatherings, recipe can be easily halved. Use full can of creamed corn and add back 2 tbsp flour to offset the moisture. Even when halving, I still needed a 9-inch square, au gratin, and two crème brulee dishes to hold it all.
Create a New Tradition Today!
Make sure you check out all of these recipes from my blogging friends!
Feed Me Phoebe: Stir-Fried Collard Greens with Ginger and Jalapeno
The Lemon Bowl: Sweet Potato and Corn Hash
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Clean Eating Holiday Side Dish Recipes
Weelicious: Cranberry Apple Chutney
Dishing: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Spices
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Cranberry-Pistachio Pilaf
Taste with the Eyes: Fresh Green Beans, Mexican-Style
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Italian Green Beans with Tomatoes and Pesto
Red or Green? Green Chile Pork Stew (v2) and Tamales
Virtually Homemade: Cheese Ravioli with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranate
Domesticate Me: Farro Risotto with Prosciutto, Parmesan and Brussels Sprouts
The Sensitive Epicure: Butter Dipped Radishes with Sea Salt
Daily*Dishin: Best Holiday Dressing
FN Dish: No-Brainer Holiday Sides
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