Savory Corn Bread Pudding

Reprinted with permission from Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive and The Washington Post.
From “Choosing Sides” by Jeanne McManus, Washington Post Staff Writer.
November 23, 2003.
In the article Jeanne McManus comments:  “This rich side dish falls somewhere between a soufflé and stuffing. You may substitute store-bought corn bread for the homemade provided it is moist and dense, not dry and crumbly.”  Post’s version of this bread pudding was adapted from “Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen” (William Morrow, $30).

You will want to bake the corn bread at least a day in advance, and you can bake it well ahead of time; freeze for up to 1 week.

Bake the entire pudding in advance and refrigerate for up to 1 day; to reheat, cover with foil and warm in a 350-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes.

Savory Corn Bread Pudding

For the corn bread:

1 cup flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for the pan

For the pudding:

1/2 batch corn bread recipe (see preceding)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus extra for the pan
1 cup diced onion
3/4 cup (about 3 ounces) grated Jack cheese, preferably dry Jack (may substitute sharp cheddar)
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
3 large eggs
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the corn bread:

Preheat the oven to 425° F. .

Generously butter an 8-inch square baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and honey. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring just until combined.

Add the melted butter and stir into the mixture. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut half of the corn bread into cubes no smaller than 1 inch; you should have about 4 cups of loosely packed cubes; reserve the remaining corn bread for another use.

For the pudding:

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  

Generously butter an 8- or 9-inch baking dish.

Place 3 to 4 cups of corn bread cubes in the baking dish; you should have enough to just barely cover the bottom of the dish in a single layer. Set aside.

In a medium skillet over low heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden brown, at least 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Scatter the onion, cheese, parsley (if using), rosemary and thyme evenly over the corn bread cubes. Using a wooden spoon, carefully turn the cubes to distribute the seasonings.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream, eggs, salt and pepper. Pour the cream mixture over the corn bread cubes, adding as much as necessary to almost reach the top of the cubes. (If you use stale or dry corn bread, you will need all of the liquid.) Set aside for 10 minutes so the corn bread absorbs some of the custard.

Bake the pudding in the preheated oven until set and golden, about 40 minutes. Allow it to cool for at least 15 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

 Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Per serving: 398 calories, 9 gm protein, 23 gm carbohydrates, 30 gm fat, 204 mg cholesterol, 18 gm saturated fat, 586 mg sodium, 1 gm dietary fiber

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The above recipe Copyright 2003, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive and The Washington Post.  All Rights Reserved.

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