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Pennsylvania Dutch Baked Corn Pudding

by Angela Roberts on November 16, 2011

This is a long post for a simple dish, and I hope you stick with it and discover a special piece of culinary Americana you may not know about.

I grew up in Amish country in a fabulous and diverse mecca of classic comfort food.  Central Pennsylvania was heavily settled by the folks who were  and still are referred to as the Pennsylvania Dutch. The word  “dutch”  was a corruption of the word Deutsch or German.  They came either from Germany or the German speaking part of Switzerland and not from Holland. When they arrived in America they came with recipes for sausages, sauerkraut, noodles and dumplings.  Pennsylvania introduced  them to regional foods that they welcomed into their kitchens and put their own spin to. Tomatoes, pumpkins, squash and corn were heartily embraced and mastered by the Amish and the Mennonites.  As food cultures collided, a new generation of comfort food was born.

The Amish and Mennonites are referred to as the plain Pennsylvania Dutch and are most associated with dishes like corn pudding and corn pie.  Baked corn pudding  is generally made with eggs and milk and baked like a custard. My family always added a little cinnamon and vanilla, but still maintained a savory taste using salt and pepper.

Growing up in Pennsylvania,  the Pennsylvania Dutch defined American comfort food for me. Comfort food is the food we remember with a feeling of heritage, family and warmth. We smell it when we remember it.  The influence of their cooking in Central Pennsylvania  is so strong that on certain days of the year, every household will be cooking at least one Pennsylvania Dutch dish no matter what their ethnicity.  On Fat Tuesday, everyone will eat fauschnauts, (homemade donuts) and on New Year’s Day, every household will eat pork and sauerkraut (for good luck). One dish that is sure to be found at every Thanksgiving table is baked corn pudding.I cannot imagine my turkey dinner without it, nestled right up against my mashed potatoes, because I like them in the same bite.

In looking through my cookbooks, I found a signed copy of  Good Earth and Country Cooking, Betty Groff’s first cookbook written with  Jose Wilson.  Mrs. Groff was a Lancaster county culinary celebrity who ran a restaurant at Groff’s Farm. Discovered by Craig Claibourne  and supported  by James Beard, Betty Groff made Pennsylvania Dutch farmhouse cooking famous.

Italian hospitality is rivaled only by Pennsylvania hospitality and I was lucky enough to get the best of both worlds. Betty’s first chapter in her first book is titled “I Cook Because I Love People.” The second chapter is titled. “A food for Every Season.” These two statements are close to my own heart and why I have that warm, near tearful feeling realizing how much this part of Americana developed my food view. If Betty Groff read my tag line, she would agree and probably share many stories about food and love.

I found a recipe for Betty’s baked corn pudding and only slightly adapted it. By the book’s cover, I didn’t know it was recipes from Lancaster County and I thought she should have called it Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking.  Eventually she did, when she wrote another book twenty years later, Betty Groff’s Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook. It’s on Amazon and on the way, and I can hardly wait to bring more of Betty Groff back into my kitchen.

I could go on and on about the memories I have from my own childhood eating this kind of food. Not all comfort food and farm cooking is equal. The Amish and the Mennonites were blessed enough to settle on rich farmland and they made more than the best out of it. Betty talks about her family in the book and their palate. Even the men would come in the kitchen and by smell know if a dish needed salt.  The standards were set very high and in this community food has to taste, smell and look delicious, although not foodie fancy, but amazing in its own rite.

There is nothing like the smell of baked corn pudding.

The corn pudding is baked in the oven and you’ll know when it’s done when it no longer shakes in the middle. I love to be the first one to dig in a with a big spoon and break the custard.  Corn pudding never goes to waste and is always included in the next day left overs. It’s just not Thanksgiving without it.

If you are looking for the no fail, no baste turkey, I use a cheesecloth to wrap my turkey. This is a tried and true, tested recipe.

Roast Turkey Using Cheesecloth by Angela Roberts

Thanksgiving is the ultimate comfort food day and one of  the things I want to remain grateful for is the diversity of food I have been exposed to, and all the fabulous home cooks who have shaped who I am.

Pennsylvania Dutch Baked Corn Pudding by Angela Roberts

My Thanksgiving Tested Recipes

No Baste No Fail Roasted Turkey

Turkey Stock and Turkey Gravy

No Lump Perfect Mashed Potatoes

The Best fluffy Southern Biscuits

Pumpkin Cream Tart (no egg)

Brussels Sprouts with Apples & Cashews

Kale Salad with Sweet Potatoes

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pennsylvania Dutch Baked Corn Pudding
Recipe type: Side Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A traditional recipe for Pennsylvania Dutch baked corn pudding, a must for the Thanksgiving dinner in the Amish or Mennonite home.
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups of corn, canned, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper (or white pepper)
  • 1½ tablespoons flour
  • 2½ tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • dash cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Drain corn if canned. Thaw corn if frozen.
  2. Mix ingredients in a 1½ quart baking dish.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Trix November 16, 2011 at 4:43 pm

I grew up in Western Maryland and am well familiar with Menonite and PA Dutch cooking! I know exactly what you mean about the comforting aspects of it … my mom always made corn pudding for Thanksgiving and I was lucky to get her recipe before she died. (One of the few things she made from scratch!) Yours looks delicious, totally craveworthy.

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Rosa November 16, 2011 at 5:32 pm

That pudding looks really scrumptious! A very interesting combination of flavors.

Cheers,

Rosa

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The Duo Dishes November 16, 2011 at 5:59 pm

This is a dish that a lot of our Southern family and friends live for (and would die for as well). There are some differences between our recipes, but at the end of the day, it’s just a creamy, sweet, starchy side dish that rarely makes it to leftover status the next day. Yum.

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Helene November 16, 2011 at 6:03 pm

I have never heard of a corn pudding but would love to taste it.

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sippitysup November 16, 2011 at 7:59 pm

A little cinnamon in a savory corn pudding sounds terrific! I have had this dish with South Western flavors (which make it feel summerish) but the taste here (I imagine) is all autumnal and warm. GREG

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erin @ yummy supper November 16, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Angela,
So exciting! I have been wanting to make a corn pudding forever and here you are with this delicious traditional recipe. What a treasure. I want a bite from that last photo:)
Happy Thanksgiving to you!
-E

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Joan Nova November 17, 2011 at 12:29 am

Didn’t know you had that Pennsylvania Dutch exposure. While corn pudding is not something I’m familiar with, I can see it’s appeal.

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5 Star Foodie November 17, 2011 at 3:22 am

Thanks so much for sharing the Pennsylvania Dutch culinary traditions! The corn pudding looks just heavenly, I would love to try it!

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Valérie ( France ) November 17, 2011 at 8:19 am

Des images bien tentantes et appétissantes
Je te souhaite une bonne journée
Valérie

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Erina November 17, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Great post! I really enjoyed reading it. Thank you for sharing your memories. This corn pudding looks amazing. I need to get a bag of corn!

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angela November 17, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Thanks Erina. This was one of my favorite posts to write. I felt led to walk down that memory and now I want to go back and visit and go to Lancaster county.

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Culinary Collage November 18, 2011 at 9:39 pm

This looks great….I love the smell of roasted corn and I bet this smells just as good.

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angela November 19, 2011 at 1:55 am

You said it just right. The smell is wonderful.

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Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen November 19, 2011 at 1:37 am

This dish just has comfort food written all over it!

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Ellan November 24, 2011 at 8:19 am

Lovely post! Also, many thanks to you for sharing this recipe. This is the corn pudding that I remember from my childhood. I grew up in Ky., and I’ve been searching for the corn pudding that my Grandmother made. (No creamed corn, cheese, or baking mix. ) Happy Thanksgiving!

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Elinore December 18, 2011 at 4:41 am

This looks delicious! We are going to make this for my parent’s 50th anniversary party (we are a military family, so the “theme” is “all the places they’ve lived”, with a recipe from each place.) This recipe is going to represent Pennsylvania :> It’s going to be a big party—do you have an estimate on how many this recipe serves as a side dish? Thank you so much!!

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Jessica November 22, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Spent the morning looking for a recipe for corn pudding that did NOT call for a can of creamed corn (none in my pantry) . . . SO glad I persevered to find your post and recipe! Now off to the kitchen to add this to the Thanksgiving/husband’s birthday cooking in progress . . . Thanks!

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marcia November 27, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Thank you for posting my favorite side dish. The smells that come from the kitchen when baking this dish is amazing. The story you post is very interesting to me because I love to read famish romance novels; they clean and exciting novels.

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Karen McNamara December 31, 2012 at 3:17 am

I grew up in Harrisburg, PA and know the pleasures of PA food – including PA Dutch. Always have pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s day. My mom didn’t make corn pudding, but her chicken and dumplings were the best, and shoo fly pie – oh it makes me nostalgic. Glad to find your site.

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angela December 31, 2012 at 7:23 am

I grew up there too and even though I’m Italian, I loved the regional food. Tomorrow we are having pork and sauerkraut.
I would love a good recipe for chicken and dumplings; that’s something I’ve not ever made, and I sure do miss my aunt’s chicken corn soup with rivels.
Thanks for stopping by. Angela

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Anna January 1, 2013 at 7:05 am

I actually grew up “plain” in south central PA and this dish is a staple. We called it baked corn. Never use canned corn! Cut fresh corn off the cob in August and freeze to use for this dish during the winter months. Also would never use nutmeg or cinnamon in it. Brings back great memories as my grandmother tried to teach me to make it from scratch. I had to make her measure as she made it and write it down.

The best treats from that area has to be the whoopie pies and mince meat pie:)

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JustAuser April 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm

There is nothing Amish about this or dutch. This is a staple in many peoples homes for the last century. It’s also a classic thanksgiving dish. Some people eat it more frequently, some people *love* it but only eat it once a year.

You did not use corn meal in this. There should be some cornmeal. The cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar are non needed. Why salt and pepper? This is almost a desert, the salt will just dry it out, and I’m not sure if people like a pepper taste in a dish like this.

I’m all for comfort food as some will put it. Fact is it’s a good dish that has been eaten by everyone since someone mixed corn with some flour and baked it. No need to sub label it as a distinct ethnic food.

Happy eating

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Wendy May 12, 2013 at 11:28 am

It is a regional PA Dutch dish. We don’t use cornmeal and we do use salt and pepper and some people do use cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg. The salt does not dry it out. You will see cornmeal and cheese used down south in the US. And in Mexico you may see chiles and tomatillos. If you study food history you will see that this is not the same throughout the world. :-)

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Jenn W November 12, 2013 at 11:43 am

It is so strange that I came across your post while doing a Pinterest search. I grew up in Perry County, Pennsylvania and I was looking for a corn pudding recipe to make for Thanksgiving! This one seems very similar to the one that my Nana used to make and I am very excited to try it out on my guinea pigs, I mean, my family. Thank you so much for the post and the beautiful history lesson on Central PA and the PA Dutch cooking style!

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angela November 12, 2013 at 12:33 pm

I’m so glad to meet someone who has the same good baked corn memory.

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Kelly November 28, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Thanks for sharing this recipe. I made it today for Thanksgiving & everyone absolutely loved it. There was hardly any left! It will be on the menu again for sure. (found your site through Pinterest)

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Mary November 28, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Have visited inlaws many years now in Manchester, pa. And have enjoyed all of the dishes mentioned except corn pudding. Am looking forward to trying corn pudding next visit. Love that part of the country, absolutely beautiful!

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DeniseofPA December 27, 2013 at 8:01 am

I live in Lancaster County. We make that corn only slightly different. We do not use the last three ingredients and we mix our corn pudding in a food processor. We also put cornstarch into ours….not flour

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