Run, Pick Corn

Put on old clothes. Get out your largest apron. Set yourself up to work outside. Plan to take a shower afterwards. Get ready for the corn pudding to end all corn puddings.

This pudding contains no eggs, no dairy products, no thickeners. This pudding is just corn, with the merest whisper of butter and a hum of cayenne. According to Shel, Tom, Louise, and Barbara, this pudding is The Best.

I found the recipe here, in the New York Times. It’s so delicious that Shel and I just grated up sixteen more ears of the supersweet white corn we’ve got right now and put the frothy raw grated corn in the freezer.  Sometime, after corn season, I’ll be able to pull out a bag of corn fluff and bake it into the essence of summer.  Good trick, that.

Pure Corn Pudding*

8 ears of really fresh corn, husked
1 Tablespoon butter
salt, cayenne pepper
juice of one lime

Follow all precautionary instructions above.  When you are safely ensconced in the most splash-proof environment available to you, commence grating the corn directly into a medium-sized, which in my world is 9″, cast iron pan. Correct, grate the corn right into the unoiled cast iron pan.

Heat your oven to 350°. Place cast iron pan in the oven and bake until the edges and the top are lightly golden.  The original recipe calls for 20-30 minutes, but I found that in my convection oven it took more like 35-40 minutes.  In any case, don’t let it really get brown.

Remove the pudding from the pan into a serving bowl and stir in the butter, salt, and cayenne. Stir to combine and add half the lime juice and taste the pudding. You deserve a taste anyway. How much lime juice you will need depends on how sweet your corn is. My corn needed one whole lime to balance the intense sweetness. You don’t want to really taste the lime, you just want to take the edge off the sweetness and give it a subtle mystery.

And as I said, I see no reason why the raw preparation shouldn’t freeze perfectly, and I can’t imagine that the freezing would harm the pudding in any way. Bon appétit !

*adapted from the recipe at http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/26/the-temporary-vegetarian-the-simplest-corn-pudding/

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7 Comments on “Run, Pick Corn”

  1. Ruthann Says:

    This sounds great; will be making it after I go to market.
    Looking forward to meeting you on the cruise.

  2. Diane Darrow Says:

    Made it tonight for dinner. Lush!

    Four ears — half your recipe — did fine in a smaller cast-iron pan. It was done before the rest of the dishes for the meal, so it sat for a while in the turned-off oven and didn’t object to that at all. Two of us could probably have eaten most of the whole eight ears’ worth.

    Mine didn’t make as much of a mess as you warned us about. Hardly any splattering to speak of. But I grated the corn onto a platter rather than right into the smallish pan, and then scraped it into the pan with a rubber spatula.

    Many thanks for pointing this recipe out; I missed it on the NYT.

  3. Heidi Husnak Says:

    So timely! I just found out that my local farm stand that grows the corn within sight and has the corniest, sweetest corn is closing in October as the farmer passed away. I will be grating some of their incredible corn for a nostalgic treat later in the year. The corn pudding is on the menu for the weekend! Thank you so much.

  4. Stephanie Says:

    Abra,

    Charles and I tried this yesterday. It’s fantastic! Almost like dessert with the corn we used (perhaps I should have added a bit more lime). This is now in the summer line-up. Thanks!

  5. Amber Says:

    Hi Abra,

    You don’t know me, but I feel like I know you. Before you suspect me of being a crazy person, let me explain:

    A few weeks ago, I was home in the middle of the day, off from work, trying to sift through the disaster my life has become between moving and getting married simultaneously. I turned the TV on as background noise, and got sucked into a beguiling movie. The plot was about a man who inherits his uncle’s french winery. A business man, he travels back to the France he visited as a child, and slowly falls in love with this place he’s determined to sell. Through the story he meets wonderful French people, eats delicious food, and drinks wine. When he first arrives at the villa, he tosses out a container of old lavender that sits on the windowsill. Later that day he discovers a scorpion and is admonished by the housekeeper for throwing out the lavender. The same scene plays out twice more in the movie, when his sister and his friend both arrive.

    I imagine you know where this story is going.

    Being a Canadian girl, I’ve never even seen a scorpion outside of the insect display at the zoo. I googled scorpions and lavender, and one of your posts was one of the results. Fascinated, I read your post, then the other two about scorpions. Intrigued, I started reading posts before and after them. Suddenly I was hooked. I needed to know what happened next. How did you, and Shel, and your American cat end up in France? How are you coping with scorpions? Where are all these tasty recipes coming from?

    I went back to the beginning. I read every post. Between organizing, and cleaning, packing, and all the other random daily things, I keep running back to my laptop. “Just another post”. “I need to know what happens next.” “Is Shel ok?” “Poor lonely Beppo, will they get another cat?” “Where’d Zazou go?”

    I devoured them. Delighting in posts about food I would NEVER eat (I’m sure that food had EYES!). Travelling with you from France, to America, and back again (and again). I’ve marvelled at your ability to draw me along with you.

    I’ve actually laughed out loud, more than once, and at least once I cried. More often than not, I’ve wished this were a book, so I could take it along with me.

    Suddenly, today, I’ve reached the latest post. 🙂

    So, from Canada, I’m wishing you both good health, and I’m hoping that wherever you go, and whatever you decide to do, you’ll be here once in awhile, to take me with you.

    Thank you!
    Amber

  6. Abra Bennett Says:

    Amber – that is one of the nicest comments I’ve ever gotten from a reader, and it cheered me immeasurably on a difficult day, when I learned that I need more surgery on my shoulder (lots of expletives deleted here). But I’m happy to say that French Letters will be going back to France in mid-October, following a week cruising in Spain, and I’ll be delighted to have you along for the ride. Best of luck in your move, and best wishes for your wedding!

  7. Amber Says:

    Oh no! I’m sorry about your shoulder! Though I imagine it will lead to some more interesting situations. 🙂

    I’m so glad to hear that you’re going back to France. I can see how you both are so much a part of that country now, and while America may be home, I really believe that you and France belong together. (Is that a strange thing to say?)

    Thank you for the good wishes!!!


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