Caribbean style corn pie
This is another Trini favourite of mine. It’s so easy to make! It’s creamy and cheesy and totally my kind comfort food! If I’m having people over and BBQing you better believe I will be making this to go along with it. It’s also a regular for Sunday lunch and the perfect side for any roast as well. Everyone loves it and my husband asks for it all the time! The texture of it is between a corn bread and a pudding. It’s a recipe you can really play around with too! So if you want it creamier then definitely add a little more water or lessen the amount of cornmeal and of course the opposite if you want it a little drier. It’s a staple side dish that I always make whether I’m cooking Trini food or not. Whether it cooks creamy or a little on the drier side no need to fret the taste is consistently delicious and it will get eaten up no matter the texture.
It’s sweet enough without adding sugar as some recipes call for and the cheese adds a nice slight sharpness and saltiness to the pie. It’s fabulous! I like mine heavily seasoned with onions, garlic, peppers and thyme but you don’t have to add as much if you want the corn to stand alone in the pie. Feel free to reduce the amount of cheese as well. It’s a pretty versatile recipe - below is my version of making it and I know each family has their own version so make sure to tweak the recipe according to your taste and texture preference.
When I lived in Trinidad I usually bought my corn meal from the market from the sweetest lady who actually would grind her own cornmeal by hand. It was by far the best quality I have had! Being that its made from a grain, with bo flour, this dish is a great one for anyone who is gluten intolerant or vegetarian. So it’s a great dish to bring to a potluck since it’s a crowd pleaser and can accommodate those kinds of food restrictions. For a plant base version. Just use olive oil and no butter or use a vegan butter, switch to dairy free milk of choice and skip the cheese or use a pant based shredded kind. Give it a try and let me know how you liked it and what little tweaks you made. Always love to get comments and definitely tag me if you make it!! The topping is my add in and is completely untraditional but I love the bit of buttery crunch it adds.
What is Trinidadian Corn Pie?
Trinidad corn pie is less of a pie with a crust and more of a corn casserole. As I mentioned above, this delicious vegetarian dish is a cross between a corn bread and corn pudding. It is made with sautéed pimentos, sweet peppers, and onions, and mixed with cornmeal, milk and of course whole kernel corn and creamed corn at times. Shredded cheese is usually added into the corn pie and over top so it bakes up golden and bubbling. I went a bit non tradition by adding some buttery panko for some crunch but that is totally optional.
Corn Pie Key Ingredients:
- Corn: you can use a combo of creamed corn and whole corn or just use whole corn. I like the texture whole corn kernels give this corn pie so I don’t usually use all creamed corn for that reason. I use canned all the time but you can even use fresh or frozen corn too.
- Cornmeal: (not to be confused with corn flour or cornstarch) I recommend yellow fine cornmeal. This will ensure a nice and smooth consistency not a crumbly texture. I whisk the corn meal with corn liquids or broth and eggs before adding it to the pot so that it is nice and smooth and incorporated into the liquids.
- Milk: I always use evaporated milk it’s creamy rich texture but feel free to use whole milk or a non dairy milk as well. For an extra decadent version you could use half and half.
- Veggies: I use sweet peppers and pimento peppers or seasoning peppers (officially called Capsicum chinense) and a touch of scotch bonnet or any hot pepper. Some recipe also call for grated carrot and even celery but I left those out in this recipe.
- Seasonings: Thyme, fresh or dried and salt and pepper is why I use and I often add some chopped parsley too.
- Cheese: I have always used New Zealand white cheddar or old white cheddar and sometimes some grated Parmesan cheese for the topping but feel free to use mozzarella or Monterey or pepper Jack cheese too.
- Topping: Ok yes this is soooooo not traditional, this is me wanting to add a crunchy topping to a creamy casserole - can you really blame me?! Feel free to add the crunchy buttery panko topping or leave it out with just the cheese for a more traditional Trinidadian corn pie.
How to make Corn Pie
- Whisk together eggs, from liquids and corn meal until smooth.
- Sauté veggies and season.
- Stir in the milk and simmer then stir in the cornmeal mixture
- Then the corn and mix until it’s thickened
- Add half of the cheese, pour into a greased baking dish top with remaining cheese and bake
- Bake until golden and puffed, about 25-30 minutes.
Make ahead and storage recommendations:
- Corn pie is a great dish to bring to pot luck dinners. It can be baked ahead and reheated and the flavours taste even better the next day so feel free to make this dish up to a day ahead and reheat in the oven. The texture changes a little if you make the whole dish ahead (minus baking), chill it and and then bake it the next day - if you don’t mind that feel free to put the whole pie together - top with cheese, cover and chill until ready to bake - up to a day ahead of time.
- Corn pie leftovers can keep covered and refrigerated for up to 4 days.
- To freeze the cooked corn pie, wrap it tightly in foil and freeze it for up to 1 month. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until hot.
For more delicious sides check these out:
- 15 oz can of creamed corn (or whole corn if you prefer all whole corn)
- 15 oz can of whole corn (or approx 2 cups fresh or frozen corn in total)
- 1 cup water or broth as needed
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ cups fine corn meal (not corn flour)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 shallots, peeled and chopped finely (or 1 onion)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme or more to taste
- 1 green onion, sliced thin (optional)
- 1 small red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed and finely chopped
- 1 handful of pimento peppers chopped finely (if available- if not use a small green bell pepper)
- ¼ teaspoon chopped scotch bonnet pepper or other hot chili, optional (use more for more heat)
- 2 cups evaporated milk or whole milk
- 2 cups grated cheese of choice (I used old white cheddar)
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the crunchy topping (optional)
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease 9x11 casserole dish
- Drain whole kernel corn reserving liquid from the cans. Pour liquid into measuring cup and top up with water or broth until you have 1 ½ cups liquid in total
- In a large bowl whisk corn liquid or water/broth and eggs
- Add the cornmeal and mix until it’s a smooth paste and set aside
- Meanwhile heat oil and melt butter in a skillet at medium heat. Add shallots, peppers, hot pepper, garlic, green onion and thyme and sauté until onions are soft and translucent. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour in the milk and bring to a boil then add the cornmeal mixture and immediately reduce heat to low and cook for a few minutes stirring often
- Stir in the corn and cook for another few minutes or until the mixture comes away from skillet while stirring, or is starting to thicken and come together.
- Remove from heat and add ½ the cheese into mixture stirring it in well. This is a good time to check and see if you need more salt and pepper after the cheese is added. Add more if needed
- Pour out into prepared casserole and top with the rest of the cheese
- If adding the topping - In small bowl, stir together breadcrumbs and butter. Sprinkle mixture evenly over cheese.
- Bake for 25- 30 minutes or until it’s golden brown
- Let stand for 15-20 minutes before cutting to allow it to set.
- You can also bake this right in your skillet if it’s oven proof.