Miso And Charred Corn Pudding

As Thanksgiving approaches, the age-old debate of which sides to prepare alongside the iconic turkey reemerges. From the and to the ever-popular , the options are plentiful. For those looking to introduce a delightful twist to their Thanksgiving spread, corn pudding is an enticing choice. At its core, corn pudding is a creamy, savory custard infused with corn kernels. While it shares similarities with creamed corn, the two are distinct. 

Creamed corn is more of a saucy dish where corn is simmered in a creamy sauce, while corn pudding has a custard-like consistency due to the eggs and cream; it is baked to a gentle firmness. What makes this particular corn pudding recipe stand out is the addition of an unexpected ingredient: miso. The salty, umami-rich flavor of miso blends with the sweetness of the corn, creating a taste sensation that's bound to leave your guests intrigued and craving more. Not only is it delicious, but adding miso to corn pudding can also serve as a delightful conversation starter around the dinner table. It's a unique alternative for your Thanksgiving feast.

Gather the ingredients for miso and charred corn pudding

The star of this dish is fresh corn. The fresh corn provides a natural sweetness and chunky texture, forming the backbone of the dish. In a pinch, frozen corn can be substituted. The base of the pudding is made of corn, heavy cream, whole eggs, and egg yolks. There are also some leeks sautéed in butter, as well as fresh scallions to provide a nice green color. The surprising ingredient, miso, adds a salty depth to the otherwise sweet dish. A pinch of cayenne adds a bit of kick and keeps the pudding from tasting too one-note. 

Step 1: Preheat the oven

Heat oven to 400 F.

Step 2: Char the corn

Take 6 ears of corn and char on a barbecue or over a gas burner. Remove kernels from cob and set aside.

Step 3: Remove kernels from raw corn

Remove kernels from remaining corn cobs.

Step 4: Cook the leeks

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add the leek and sauté until translucent, about 3–4 minutes.

Step 5: Cook the raw corn

Add the kernels from the raw corn to the skillet and sauté for another 5–7 minutes, until the corn is tender and slightly golden.

Step 6: Simmer with cream

Add the cream and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes.

Step 7: Puree the mixture

In a blender or food processor, blend ¾ of the corn and cream mixture to smooth.

Step 8: Add the eggs and spices

Add the eggs, egg yolks, miso paste, and cayenne. Blend until smooth.

Step 9: Return mixture to pan

Return the creamy corn mixture to the skillet with the charred corn and scallions. Stir to combine.

Step 10: Bake the dish

Transfer to an oven-safe casserole dish. Bake until golden brown and firm along the edges, about 25 minutes.

Step 11: Remove from oven and serve

Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Can I use frozen or canned corn instead of fresh corn ears for the miso and charred corn pudding?

While fresh corn ears provide a certain sweetness and texture that's incomparable, not everyone has access to them year-round. If you're using frozen corn, it's typically a great substitute, as the kernels are frozen at their peak freshness. To use frozen corn, simply thaw and drain any excess water before incorporating it into the recipe. Make sure the corn is very, very dry before attempting to char. Any moisture will inhibit the browning.

Canned corn can also work, but you'll want to drain and rinse the kernels to remove any excess salt or preservatives. Remember that the freshness of corn can significantly impact the overall sweetness of the pudding, so you may need to adjust the seasonings slightly when using frozen or canned versions. However, with the rich notes of the miso, this dish is forgiving and can still be delicious with alternative corn sources. 

Can miso be omitted or substituted in this miso and charred corn pudding?

is a traditional Japanese ingredient made from fermented soybeans, and it gives this corn pudding its unique twist. If you're hesitant about using it or can't find it, you can certainly make the corn pudding without it, but you'll miss out on that extra layer of depth it provides. If you're looking for a substitute, soy sauce or tamari can provide a similar salty and umami punch. When using soy sauce or tamari, be cautious with the amount, as they are quite salty; start with a smaller quantity and adjust according to taste. 

Another potential substitute is anchovy paste, which also adds a deep, savory note, but it has a distinct flavor profile that might not be for everyone. It's always good to remember that while substitutions can mimic certain flavors, the unique combination of corn and miso is what sets this pudding apart. If you can find it, it's worth sourcing miso paste to experience the dish as intended.