Corn Pudding and a Rant

August 18, 2011

And now, for a bit of a rant.

Like most parents, my mom and dad tried to teach my brothers and I certain things.  There was a long list but some were more non-negotiable than others.  One was Clean Up Your Room.  And Always Be On Time.  Also If Someone Extends an Invitation Do Your Very Best to Be There.  The first one didn’t stick with me but the other two did.  Randy and I are always on time and we also make a big effort to attend any event/party/gathering to which we are invited.  I’m always amazed when people don’t follow suit.  Occasionally, I send out an invitation to something and most people take forever to respond if they do at all.  Is this a Seattle thing?  Does our casual lifestyle mean that we don’t need to RSVP?  Does this happen in your city?  The only thing that bothers me more than the people who don’t respond is the people who decide, on the day of the event, that they can’t make it.  Manners, people.

Done!  Moving on.

The fabulous Jen Yu breezed into town this week.  Do you know Jen?  Her site is one of the very first blogs I read.  Her talent, strength, determination, and her serious cooking and baking chops have made Use Real Butter a must read for me for years.  Jen and her husband were in town for a very limited time and I suggested a potluck at our house to gather the people she wanted to see.  She gave me her list, I sent an evite, and I was surprised by the quick response.  Apparently, Jen rates highly.  I decided to make several dishes to highlight our spectacular produce but, as per usual, on the day of the potluck, I got several cancellations.  I opted to be realistic and bag one of the planned dishes, a corn pudding I have been wanting to try since the corn left the markets last fall.  There was plenty of delicious food for everyone and we had a truly wonderful evening.

But I still had a bag of corn waiting to be used.  My good friend Deb came for dinner last night with her kids and I thought it was time to try out that pudding.  The original recipe uses four ears of corn and feeds 10 people.  I cut the recipe in half and microwaved the other two ears (it’s ok! Melissa Clark does it!) for the kids to eat straight off the cob.  My Graham is now missing both his front teeth so I cut his off the cob for him.  As I watched the corn tumble onto his plate, I had one of those memories that nearly knock you off your feet of my mom doing the same for me at a long-ago kitchen table in a long-ago house.

Anyway, this is not the kind of recipe you usually find here unless you are baking.  Butter, cream, milk, cheese, eggs.  I eat all those things, just not usually all together in one dish.  I thought it might be too heavy, a gut bomb.  But it wasn’t at all.  This is a dish where everything works together in harmony so that you don’t taste too much of any one thing and the only true standout is the summer’s pitch perfect corn.  The only bad thing I can say about this recipe is that it doesn’t look like much on the plate.  But looks aren’t everything.

One Year Ago:  Lavender and Honey Tea Cakes and (more corn in my red baking dish! and much prettier on the plate!) Polenta Baked with Corn, Basil, and Tomatoes
Two Years Ago:  Mushroom, Walnut, and Rosemary Pâté
Three Years Ago:  Chilled Roasted Tomato Soup with Mint

Corn Pudding
Adapted from Food & Wine
Serves 4-6  (4 as a main, 6 as a side)

1 cups milk
¼ cup heavy cream
2 ears of corn, shucked
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
½ stick of unsalted butter (4 tablespoons)
¼ cup cornmeal
3 large eggs, separated
½ cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
½ tsp. plus a pinch of salt
Black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Butter an 8-inch square baking dish.  In a saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a simmer over moderate heat.  Add the corn, cover, and cook over moderately low heat, turning a few times, until tender, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the olive oil.  Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 4 minutes.

Transfer the corn to a plate and let cool.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and swirl in the butter until melted.  Let cool to room temperature.  Using a large knife, cut the kernels off the cobs and add to the saucepan.  Scrape the shallot into the saucepan.  Whisk in the cornmeal, egg yolks, Cheddar, and the ½ teaspoon of salt along with a few grinds of pepper.

In a large stainless steel bowl, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt at high speed until firm peaks form.  Fold the whites into the corn mixture and pour into the prepared baking dish.  Bake for about 30 minutes, until the corn pudding is puffed and golden brown.  Let the pudding rest for about 5 minutes before serving.  (DT:  I served this about 30 minutes after it came out of the oven.  It had fallen slightly but the texture was still nice and light.)



  1. I’ve always liked Jen’s site and her photos are gorgeous.

    Lovely corn puddin’ Miss!
    How about some pics from the potluck dinner?

    Comment by stacey snacks — August 18, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

  2. I can absolutely agree and say that even in KC, people. do. not. rsvp. It drives me INSANE. It takes no time at all and saves the host so much trouble and angst. …people.

    On another note, I LOVE CORN PUDDING. I even love saying, “corn pudding.” It rolls off the tongue.

    Imma gonna make this with fall right around the corner, oh yes I am.

    Comment by Bev Weidner — August 18, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

  3. The RSVP thing happens here in Oklahoma also. It makes it so stressful to try to plan a party. It’s probably my biggest pet peeve. It’s so easy to respond, email, text, etc. So not responding is just SO rude!

    Comment by Christie — August 18, 2011 @ 2:08 pm

  4. I do not know what it is but after moving from GA to Seattle I noticed a significant decline in RSVPs and people who cancel at the last minute. Even more frustrating are people who wait until the day of the event to tell you they are coming, after you’ve purchased enough food for the ones who were polite enough to let you know they were coming in time. I think it’s a Seattle thing but I can’t figure out why it’s so cultural here. I rant about this often. You are not alone!

    Comment by Catherine — August 18, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

  5. Hi Dana,

    Is there a reason that you don’t cut the corn kernals until after cooking the shucked corn in the milk mixture? I was thinking of cooking the corn kernals in the milk mixture after I cut them off the cob.

    The recipe sounds delicious!

    Comment by Eric — August 18, 2011 @ 3:21 pm

  6. I never ever get responses here either and it’s NYC – the antithesis of the laid-back Seattle stereotype! So I think it’s just an issue with people in general. Across the board.

    At least you still got to make this corn pudding! I have been loving corn lately and given how cheap it is, there’s no end to the recipes I want to make with it! This is now added to the list.

    Comment by Joanne — August 18, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

  7. OMG.I hear ya sister.The RSVP and cancelling thing drives me bonkers. I have finally concluded that those who are less than considerate must be those who do not entertain much themselves and simply do not realize how much time, effort and expense go into being a good host.Grrr:)

    Comment by The Fromagette — August 18, 2011 @ 7:18 pm

  8. You, my dear… you are a machine! I don’t know how you do everything you do with such class and elegance and come off looking so calm and collected. We had a LOVELY time and we adore you, your sweet sweet boys, your fabulous cooking, your warm home. Thank you for that, truly. You should be expecting a package in the mail next week (my parents are back in Boulder this week – so productivity has been cut in half). As for RSVPs: The people of Boulder, Colorado have every other town beat. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve gotten replies of “I’ll have to see if something better comes up” to “We may come if we feel like it.” The hell?! I feel your frustration. xoxo

    Comment by Jen Yu — August 18, 2011 @ 7:32 pm

  9. Dana, you can rant all you like. I hate tardiness more than anything. Flakiness too! Putting that aside, however, I’m a true corn fan. I also LOVE using using butter and cream and such in one dish. Delicious!

    Comment by Redmenace — August 18, 2011 @ 7:54 pm

  10. I hate it when people RSVP “Yes” and cancel the day of – do better. Sorry, but I’m really harsh with those kinds of things.

    As far as the corn pudding – it looks absolutely DELICIOUS!!!

    Comment by Monique — August 18, 2011 @ 10:02 pm

  11. The RSVP thing is a world-wide epidemics, unfortunately, and your rant is well placed!

    I thought it was super cool to learn that you got together with Jen, her blog was one of the first food blogs I started reading years ago, she is an amazing photographer and writer.

    Your corn pudding is making my mouth water, I should go bug my husband to cook our dinner faster! ;-)

    Comment by SallyBR — August 18, 2011 @ 11:20 pm

  12. Lovely corn pudding! And, yes, it drives me CRAZY when people don’t RSVP or change their response at the last minute. It’s not just Seattle, unfortunately!

    Comment by Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — August 19, 2011 @ 12:55 am

  13. Bay Area? RSVP’ers are slim. Maybe we need to start a new movement? I’m a very typical first child in that I’m rarely late, like to plan, always RSVP…has taken getting used to that not everyone is this way. Hopefully you had enough folks that the evening was still nice with Jen (I love her blog, too). And this corn pudding looks great. Can you believe I haven’t had corn yet this summer??? Strange. Need to get on this. Hope you’re well, my friend! Me + you on my next trip to Seattle-seriously.

    Comment by Megan Gordon — August 19, 2011 @ 4:56 am

  14. It’s far too common here in Vancouver. I’ve developed the habit of asking everyone more than thrice to confirm whether they’re coming and how many are coming. I always shudder when people say they are going in one vehicle, and then they will all cancel because one person cannot go. Argh.

    But what can we do? Just go with the flow. Relax. Enjoy the company who showed up. And enjoy corn pudding for another day. :)

    I will make this! I just made corn soup last week after getting some ridiculously sweet peaches and cream corn from a farmer, and I bet they wouldn’t disappoint in a corn pudding!

    Comment by Joy — August 19, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

  15. I can’t wait to make this dish, it sounds delicious!! Alas, I am one of those people who sometimes cancels on the day of….however, when I RSVP it is always with the explanation that because of health issues, I might have to cancel. My friends already know this, but I still remind them that I don’t know from one day to the next what my body will do. So, there are reasons, sometimes, why people cancel. Believe me, I would much rather be healthy and not have to cancel!

    Comment by Carol — August 20, 2011 @ 9:17 pm

  16. Ugh, I do think that people are just getting lazy….not responding until the last moment (if at all) or canceling at the last minute. My friend and I are always talking about that and she thinks it’s because we hang up around younger people, who knows! Anyway, this corn pudding looks delicious – do you think it would work without the cream – subbing milk or yogurt in its place? I rarely ever cook with cream and I think especially the yogurt might work nicely.

    Comment by kickpleat — August 22, 2011 @ 1:55 am

  17. […] Last Monday in this space, Rob included a great recipe for “Nacho Libre” corn on the cob, and it got me a little depressed to think that sweet, fresh corn will soon be out of season. Nothing says summer like grillin out and corn on the cob with good friends.  While there’s still time, I’m determined to try this Corn Pudding recipe. Made with butter, cream, milk, cheese and eggs, this one sounds like a “gut bomb,” but Dana Wootton insists that “everything works together in harmony so that you don’t taste too much of any one thing and the only true standout is the summer’s pitch perfect corn.” (Dana Treat) […]

    Pingback by Don't forget the fish and veggies -- for dessert | Smart Living Blog — August 22, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

  18. Jeanette, I do think that milk would work vs the cream but it might be a little more watery. Maybe add another egg? A bit of cornstarch? I’m not the best at substituting I have to admit. Let me know if you change it and how it works.

    Comment by dana — August 22, 2011 @ 10:34 pm

  19. Eric, sorry for the late reply. I’m not sure why the recipe is written that way. I was puzzled by the directions a bit myself and even thought that the corn (which is so sweet and fresh these days) didn’t need to be cooked at all. But I was a good oldest child and I followed the directions as they were written. If you change it, please let me know how it turns out.

    Comment by dana — August 22, 2011 @ 10:36 pm

Leave a comment