A little spicy, a little sweet and a lot delicious, this Spicy Cheddar Cornbread Pudding is our most-requested side dish ever. We use two kinds of cheeses — extra-sharp cheddar and pepper jack — to give it loads of flavor. Make it with fresh summer corn when it’s in season, but it’s just as good with frozen corn the rest of the year.
As a Brit, I get a lot of questions about pudding, most often along the lines of “Why do you have so many of them?”. It’s true. Puddings of all sorts — whether sweet or savory — are practically part of our DNA. There are gelatin or custard puddings (such as blancmange), steamed puddings (sticky toffee or Christmas pudding), baked puddings (you’ve probably heard of the Yorkshire), and even sausages (black pudding).
But corn pudding is American through and through, and this week we cooked up our favorite version: a spicy cheddar cornbread pudding, flavored with fresh sweet corn, scallions, and our two favorite cheeses from Cabot Creamery: Seriously Sharp Cheddar and Pepper Jack (though you can also use the Habanero Cheddar if you like things extra spicy!)
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Cabot Creamery.
It’s hard to find a region of the US that isn’t touched in some way by the production of corn. Although the southern States, where wheat wouldn’t easily grow, originally developed it as a staple, now there are whole states almost entirely given over to farming it. Corn represents the abundance of a good harvest. Even our home town of Beacon, NY, has a corn festival every year towards the end of summer to celebrate local farmed produce. At our local supermarket, from July through September, the heaped piles of corn get bigger and bigger, and the deals get better and better, and there are many visits where you find yourself lugging home a dozen ears for about $3 and you hope that you have room to store it, or some recipes you can use pretty quick to cook down those golden kernels.
This recipe is one of our favorites. We first made it a few years ago as a potluck offering for a friend’s birthday. When her North Carolinian mom gave it the nod of approval and went in for seconds, we knew we had a winner on our hands. Half the delight of this pudding is its texture: not as firm or dry as a cornbread, but not so soft that it can’t easily be spooned onto your plate. The edges turn golden brown and crisp while the center is rich and creamy. What’s not to love?
We use a combination of freshly shucked corn kernels (you can of course use frozen corn if it’s out of season) and canned creamed corn. And to provide just the right amount of cheesiness and a peppery kick, we’ve mixed two kinds of cheese: Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar and Cabot Pepper Jack. Sharp cheddar cheese and sweet corn are one of our favorite pairings in the world, but add in Pepper Jack’s jalapeño spice and smooth melting ability and you’ve really got something special.
We love using cheese from Cabot Creamery because they’re local to our Northeast region, and their dairy products are just so damn good. And, in case you didn’t know, Cabot is a co-operative made up of over 800 farm families hundred farms in New England and New York, so 100% of the profits go back to the dairy farm families.
We now make this several times from late spring through to Thanksgiving and all through the winter. It’s a fantastic side dish for barbecues or any kind of gathering, and you will absolutely never have leftovers to take back home. Guaranteed.
We love serving this in the height of summer with fresh garden tomatoes. Note: you can also use 2 boxes of corn muffin mix in place of the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking soda and vegetable oil. The ingredients you should skip if you’re using packaged mix are shown in the recipe below with asterisks.
- 4 ears fresh corn, shucked (or 16 oz frozen corn, defrosted and drained)
- 160g (1⅓ cups) all-purpose flour *
- 160g (1 cup) yellow cornmeal *
- 75g (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) granulated sugar *
- 25g (2 tablespoons) baking powder *
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt *
- 4 extra large eggs
- 2 large cloves garlic, grated or minced
- ¼ cup vegetable oil *
- 230g (1 cup) sour cream
- 115g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 (15 oz) cans creamed corn
- 2 cups grated Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar (8 oz), divided
- 1 cup grated Cabot Pepper Jack (4 oz)
- (If you want a spicier pudding, substitute 2 oz of the grated Pepper Jack with 2 oz of Cabot Habanero Cheddar)
- 6 scallions, thinly sliced
- Heat the oven to 400ºF and set a rack in the middle. Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish or ovenproof ceramic baker.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the corn and cook until the kernels are just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then cut the kernels off using a sharp knife. (Alternatively, add the corn and ¼ cup water to a large sealable bag, fold the top of the bag over loosely, and microwave on full power until the kernels are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Carefully remove the bag and open it to let the steam escape; let the corn rest for 10 minutes.)
- Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and kosher salt in a large bowl. Add the eggs, garlic, oil, sour cream and butter to a medium bowl and whisk until combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture, along with the creamed corn, fresh corn kernels, all but ½ cup of the Seriously Sharp Cheddar, all of the Pepper Jack or Habanero Cheddar, and the scallions. Gently stir the batter together until there are no lumps or streaks of flour, but be careful not to over-mix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the top with the remaining ½ cup of grated cheddar. Bake until the top is golden brown and the centre is still slightly jiggly, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.