Cast Iron

Wintry Corn Bread Pudding

November 19, 2012
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 6-8
Author Notes

This is based on an Alton Brown recipe for Sweet Corn Bread Pudding. The original uses stale bread cubes, creamed corn, and a cornmeal-parmesan custard to create a savory amalgam of bread pudding and cornbread with a little spoon bread thrown in for good measure. It is comfort food, and I've served it as a vegetarian substitute for dressing at Thanksgiving in past years. This time I infused the recipe with one of my favorite fall flavor combinations: winter squash, leeks, and Gruyère. I first tried the combo in a recipe from the Fields of Greens cookbook for a pastry turnover, and was immediately smitten. I used frozen winter squash purée, but by all means substitute with homemade if you've got it. Use any dry bread you've got, just remove thick crusts as they don't soften up well. —hardlikearmour

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: hardlikearmour is a Pacific Northwest-based cook, cake decorator, and veterinarian.
WHAT: A comforting, vegetarian side that will stick to your ribs in the best way.
HOW: After the leeks are nice and slouchy, it's just a quick mix of the base and in the oven it goes.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This corn bread pudding ingeniously uses yeasted bread in place of cornbread, gleaning its classic flavor from cornmeal folded into the mix. It's a smart move: the sturdier bread cubes hold up well during cooking, which creates a nice texture and crumb in the final dish. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen winter squash purée, thawed (or substitute 1 cup homemade)
  • 1 1/4 cups half-and-half
  • 2 large eggs. beaten
  • 1/2 cup stone ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or 1/8 teaspoon cayenne)
  • 1/2 cup Gruyère cheese, shredded
  • 1 large leek. washed and thinly sliced crosswise (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups dry bread cubes (or irregular chunks), thick crust removed
  1. Heat oven to 350º F with a rack near the middle.
  2. Combine winter squash, half-and-half, and eggs in a small bowl or large glass measure. Set aside. Combine cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, baking powder, black pepper, aleppo or cayenne pepper, and Gruyère in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Heat half of the butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the foaming has subsided, add the leek slices and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cook until soft and just starting to brown, stirring occasionally. Add the thyme and cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. When leeks are almost done, add the squash mixture to the cornmeal mixture. Scrape the leeks into the squash and cornmeal mixture (it's okay if there are a few stragglers left in the pan).
  4. Add remaining butter to the skillet and return the skillet to medium-low heat.
  5. Stir together the leek, squash, and cormeal mixture until combined. Fold in the bread cubes, and adjust salt to taste. Pour into the skillet. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until puffed and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Mae
  • Amybeth Hurst
    Amybeth Hurst
  • Meatballs&Milkshakes
  • EmilyC
  • TheWimpyVegetarian
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.

23 Reviews

Mae April 5, 2019
I made my own vegan version of this today, and it is delicious! I thought I'd share in case anyone is curious about substitutions. I didn't have winter squash on hand (though I'm sure that would have been fabulous!) so I used okara, which is soy bean pulp leftover over from making soy milk. I omitted the cheese, used cashew cream instead of half and half, and combined ground flaxseeds with water in place of the eggs (makes a thick and gooey liquid good for holding baked goods together.) Topped it off with some leftover homemade gravy. Delicious! Thanks for sharing this recipe, hardlikearmour!
Michelle January 3, 2017
Made this to go alongside some grass fed strip steaks last night. I made as written using home roasted carnival squash and stale sourdough bread cubes. It was amazing. I think I will use it instead of stuffing at thanksgiving this year.
Amybeth H. November 25, 2014
I am going to make this for certain! Thank you! Amybeth Hurst, Portland, ME
ValerieE November 2, 2013
Made this for dinner last night, and it was great. I used sweet potato puree since that's what I had on hand, and I subbed buttermilk for the half and half so that it wasn't quite as rich. It worked out extremely well!
Meatballs&Milkshakes December 11, 2012
Congrats on being a finalist, it looks delicious!
EmilyC December 10, 2012
Made this for dinner last night and it was a HUGE hit! The combination of flavors here is spot on and really lovely -- and you're absolutely right about it being a cornbread/bread pudding/spoon bread all rolled into one. It's really, really good. I'll let my bread go stale just to make it.
hardlikearmour December 10, 2012
Happy, happy, happy! Nothing is better than having someone make a recipe, and have it be a success.
TheWimpyVegetarian December 10, 2012
This looks fantastic!!! Huge, gigantic congrats to you for being a finalist!!!
meganvt01 December 9, 2012
This is brilliant! It will be making its way to our holiday table. Congrats!
fiveandspice December 7, 2012
Congrats HLA! This looks phenomenal! I think I want it for my weekend breakfast.
Kukla December 6, 2012
Congratulations on the finalist nomination! Your pudding sounds very very yummy.
darksideofthespoon December 6, 2012
This looks amazing! I have a big bowl of stale bread cubes waiting to go into this. I can't wait to make it!
hardlikearmour December 6, 2012
I'm thrilled you are going to make it! Let me know how it turns out.
hardlikearmour December 6, 2012
Thank you all! I'm definitely doing a little happy dance today!
drbabs December 6, 2012
Congratulations, HLA! This sounds wonderful!
inpatskitchen December 6, 2012
Congratulations! Lovely recipe!
dymnyno December 6, 2012
Congrats on another fabulous recipe!
mrslarkin December 6, 2012
Yay hla! Congrats. This sounds very delicious!
AntoniaJames December 6, 2012
This looks outrageously delicious. Congrats!! ;o)
EmilyC December 6, 2012
Big congrats on being a finalist! This looks's going on the menu for Sunday dinner!
hardlikearmour December 6, 2012
Yay! I hope you'll let me know how it turns out!
lorigoldsby November 26, 2012
Do you think you could use leftover corn bread instead of the regular bread?
hardlikearmour November 26, 2012
I don't think it would hold up the way yeast bread does, but it would probably be tasty!