Sweet corn can easily outlast summer
Marisa Renwald August 13, 2012 3:34PM
4 ears of corn, shucked (or 2 cups of thawed sweet corn)
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups of whole milk (or half-and-half for a richer pudding)
2 tablespoons corn starch
4 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a casserole dish and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, corn starch, melted butter, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir in half of the corn and then pour, in batches, in a food processor. Process until creamy. Mix in remaining corn and then pour into casserole dish.
Create a water bath by placing casserole dish in a shallow baking pan and pouring boiling water in the pan until it reaches halfway up the side of the dish. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the pudding is set like a custard. Cool before serving.
Updated: September 16, 2012 6:07AM
By the time the summer sweetcorn is flying off the street-side truck stands for a dime an ear, you’ve already had an entire month of fresh corn for dinner.
Tiresome, perhaps, but it seems like such a waste to fend off the sweetest taste of the season. When it’s perfectly ripe and tastes slightly of molasses and nectar, an ear of August corn is sweeter to the palate than candy.
The predicament comes in when you just get plain sick of it — not the flavor, of course — but the process of steaming or grilling it, shucking it, baking it into casseroles or tossing it into salads. And then picking it out of your teeth.
An entire month of this can really wear down the nerves.
But it doesn’t hurt to preserve the flavor of summer for a few more months. Sweet corn season may be fleeting, but the flavor can linger on until next year’s crop pops up at the market.
I used to think that freezing corn was a waste: the sweet flavor would never remain intact. But quickly blanching, cooling, shucking the corn into freezer bags and opening them up weeks — even months later — has proven me wrong.
Sweet corn freezes well, if you do it properly. And by the time Thanksgiving rolls around and the craving for fresh sweet corn for casseroles, stuffings and puddings starts mulling around in our heads, those bags of the frozen August crop come in mighty handy.
Utilizing those bags of frozen corn is another story. Thawed and heated up, they can be as tasty as the day they were picked — a little taste of summer in the cool weather. But autumn meals warrant different recipes. Corn pudding creates a nice little niche on the supper table for that frozen August sweet corn. However, another predicament rolls about: New England corn pudding or Southern corn pudding?
While the difference between the two is minute, Southerners like to show off their sweet tooth with their recipe. Southern corn pudding, which is more of a custard, usually has added sugar. With Hoosier corn, you don’t need to add any sugar. New England corn pudding is a little drier, but that tasty bunch of sweet corn can’t really shine in a dried-up dish. No need for a stand-off between the two. A combination of the two classic recipes will work just fine.
The August heat might be too much to start up the oven now, so freeze the last of your ears of corn for a fresh and sweet meal later in the season.