Monday, December 28, 2015

Corn Pudding

When I was growing up, I was not a fan of corn. Part of the problem was that my mother knew only two ways to prepare it. It was either served on the cob after being boiled forever and then served slathered in butter and doused in salt or slopped onto a plate out of a can. To my best recollection, it was never used as a component in a more elaborate dish. In fact, it was very rare for my mother to ever make anything resembling an elaborate dish. She grew up in a region in which food was largely served without embellishment and unseasoned beyond sprinkles of finely ground black pepper (pre-ground, of course) and fine salt.

While I am still not a fan of corn by itself, I love it as a component part and wanted to try the corn pudding recipe on the Times as a variation on the usual savory options. With sugar, butter, milk, corn, and nutmeg, what could go wrong? Well, it seems that what went wrong was the proportions. This just was not all that great.

I did not vary the recipe at all except for one inconsequential point. Instead of making a huge portion all at once, I made individual muffin-sized portions so I could freeze leftovers more easily. I kept an eye on the cooking time and, given that some of the comments said that they had trouble with the pudding "setting", I was probably better off with the small portions. Mine set fine, as can be seen by the spoonful of pudding.

There were two main issues and one was that there seemed to be too much corn for the amount of pudding. There also seemed to be a little bit of a liquid and solid separation issue with the pudding where the corn floated to the top, the pudding sat somewhere near the middle to bottom, and a thin layer of liquid ran across the bottom of the muffin cup.

Additionally, the corn didn't seem to have cooked enough and felt too firm. I know corn does not need to be cooked for a long time, but the soft pudding with the overly firm kernels didn't work for me as a textural contrast, and I am not a person who is averse to good contrast in food. To be honest, I think it came too close for me to memories of gnawing on canned corn or corn fresh off the cob. I need a bigger buffer zone between myself and each kernel.

Some of the commenters for this recipe mentioned making a variation with creamed corn (presumably from a can). I had a sense that I'd like this better if half to 2/3 of the corn were pureed so that the clumping of the kernels would be less. At any rate, I was insufficiently pleased with this that I threw out the remainder after eating two portions and I don't think I'd bother to try even a variation on this recipe. I think I'll stick with things which have a lower corn to other ingredient ratio.

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