This Corn Pudding from The Grand Central Baking Book by Piper Davis and Ellen Jackson is a not only an insanely rich side or fantastic brunch dish, it's also a bit of an optical illusion. When the pudding emerges from the oven it appears to be a golden yellow-brown pan of cornbread studded with scallions, cheddar, and bacon but the second you break the surface it reveals its true nature. Under the crisp surface lies a creamy, custardy pudding that I for one would be happy to eat all day.
It's an incredible feat of texture, and honestly the only thing that I can compare it to is the ubiquitous molten chocolate cake. The outer edges are all crumbly cornbread goodness and the insides ooze out onto the plate. I served mine with Lucinda Scala Quinn's Quick Fried Chicken and some wilted spinach and it was wonderful but this pudding was made for barbecue or even chili. It would make the perfect foil for any type of slowly cooked spiced meat.
The basic recipe here is meant to be tweaked to your taste and what's in season. Obviously fresh corn would be a great addition but you could certainly swap out the cheddar and scallions for ricotta or Parmesan to make this into a dish that is similar to a creamy polenta to be served with osso bucco.
Win The Grand Central Baking Book
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Grand Central Baking Book to give away this week.
- 3 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 11/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon chile flakes
- 2/3 cup (3 ounces) cornmeal
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups (16 fluid ounces) whole milk
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 3 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
- 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and put the pan in the oven to heat while you prepare the pudding.
Fry the bacon until crisp, then transfer it, along with 2 tablespoons of drippings, to a large bowl. If need be, add melted butter so that the total amount of fat equals 2 tablespoons.
Measure the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and chile flakes into a bowl and whisk to combine. Stir in the cornmeal.
Crack the eggs into the bowl with the drippings, then add the milk, sugar, and vinegar and beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth; the batter will be quite thin. Stir in the cheese and chives.
Pour the batter into the heated pan, then pour the cream into the center without stirring. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. The pudding should quiver slightly when gently shaken, but the edges should be set and lightly browned. Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.