Civil War Recipe Green Corn Pudding

A recipe from the 1860s is as much a vocabulary lesson as it is a nostalgic side dish of deliciousness.  Many modern versions of corn pudding exist today, and yet perhaps the most fanciest part of Green Pudding is its name.  Although the words ‘green pudding’ tend to make one reminisce of Dr. Seuss’ popular story ‘Green Eggs & Ham’, the reference to green has nothing to do with color.  Corn that is referred to as green is the same as what we denote today as being ripe.  The best-kept secret of this recipe is the sweet milky substance that is juiced from perfectly ripened kernels as they are scrapped from the cob.  Adding texture and flavor, every delectable drop should be spared. Commonly used as a side dish, it serves as the perfect compliment to every table, both then and now.

8 ears of ‘green’ corn; sweet would be best

6 large eggs, separated; yolksin one bowl, whites in another

4 tablespoons salted butter, melted

4 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 cups milk

2 cups light cream

Cinnamon; optional

1. Preheat the oven at 350

2. Using a sharp knife, scrape the kernels from each cob; equaling about 3 ½ cups of corn

3. Beat egg yolks till thick and creamy

4.  Mix in corn kernels, butter, and salt

5. Slowly whisk together cream and milk; add to corn mixture

6. Beat together the egg whites until stiff; fold into corn mixture until well blended.

7. Sprinkle with a little bit of cinnamon just before baking; optional

8. Bake in a lightly greased 9×13 glass or stoneware-baking pan at for 1 ½ hours.

Be sure to have the pudding centered in the oven. While baking, check on the pudding after 45 minutes and then every fifteen minutes afterwards. Remove from the oven once a butter knife can be inserted and removed without pudding residue. Allow dish to stand for five minutes before serving.  Serves 10 – 12

This recipe is an adaptation from The Economical Cook-Book by Elizabeth Nicholson, published in 1865. A similar recipe can be found in The White House Cookbook of 1887. 

Time saver: Husk and scrape corn while it is in season, then store bags of the freshly grated corn in your freezer.

Serving Tip: Pudding can also be baked and served in small oven-safe custard cups. Baking time will need to be adjusted.

1. Scotch Plains Public Library : Civil War Recipes–Baked Hominy
2. Green Corn Pudding | Revolutionary Pie