I never could understand it. My mother would gaze on all the chocolate-laden desserts on display in the cafeteria dessert line and swiftly pass them up, along with the seductive coconut pie with the three-inch-high meringue and the apple cobbler with its sugar-dusted lattice top. She'd ignore the tangy lemon cream pie with the frothy whipped-cream topping. She'd even turn her nose up at the four-layer carrot cake decked with cute little carrots crafted with orange icing.
What, instead did she pick?
Bread pudding, of course. The most prosaic of all choices, and she'd select it every time. Pudding with bread? Wasn't a dinner roll enough? I shook my head in puzzlement as I hastily pulled some chocolate three-layer decadence onto my tray.
Maturity among the taste buds did its work on me. Now, what's my first choice in the cafeteria line (provided one can still locate a cafeteria!)? Bread pudding, of course. I've become a bread-pudding-aholic. These days I’m crazy for it. I have recipes for every variety known. In my first cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, Pumpkin Bread Pudding got the nod. In my new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, Apple Bread Pudding, made with fresh apples, got rave reviews. Chocolate Bread Pudding is another hands-down favorite of mine.
I now consider bread pudding of any variety to be the dessert of royalty. Mother, I take it all back. Mothers are always right.
Perhaps that's why the recipe for Fresh Corn Bread Pudding caught my eye and made it to my "must-try" list. (Earlier I mentioned that I'm cooking my way through my wish-list of recipes that have been gathering dust in my binder for numerous seasons. Corn Bread Pudding is one that I repeatedly bypassed but promised myself to prepare.)
It was billed as a cross between corn pudding and cornbread. Most importantly it calls for fresh corn cut from the cob. While we're waiting for our own garden's cornstalks to get as high as an elephant's eye (looks like maybe about three weeks to go), we found a good deal on corn at our Kroger this week. Corn Bread Pudding (from a long-ago Family Circle magazine) was a great way to use a bunch of it quickly.
This delightful concoction is sweet enough to be mistaken for dessert, but it also makes a terrific side dish as well as an almost-bread serving. My hubby and I even served it to ourselves as a main course alongside a colorful vegetable salad. For my daughter, who slathers ketchup on most everything, Corn Bread Pudding is certainly ketchup-worthy. And for last night's meal I dressed it up with a little sour cream/dill sauce that I had prepared for another entree. What a great combination!
Corn Bread Pudding, with three cups of corn kernels in it, is plenty fibrous, moist, and sweet. But best of all, before too many days I can walk out my door a few steps, visit my elephant's-eye-high cornstalks, and prepare it from fresh ingredients found in my own back yard!
Fresh Corn Bread Pudding
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar (or sugar substitute)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
2 cups buttermilk (or 4 1/2 teaspoons vinegar with enough milk added to make 2 cups)
4 large eggs (or egg substitute)
3 cups fresh corn kernels cut from 4 to 6 ears
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 7-inch-by-11-inch baking dish. In a large bowl whisk together the cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Pulse buttermilk, eggs, and 3 tablespoons melted butter in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add corn and pulse a few more times (the mixture should be lumpy with visible kernels). Whisk buttermilk mixture into cornmeal mixture. Pour into prepared baking dish; bake 35 to 40 minutes until edges are golden brown and center remains slightly jiggly. Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.