- serves 8
For more than 35 years, Backstreet Cafe has been a Houston dining tradition, growing from a “watering hole” with soups, salads, and sandwiches to a critically acclaimed, chef-driven Seasonal American Bistro that is a top table in the city. Always innovating, always updating, Backstreet Cafe has served generations of families and is a communal place to celebrate special occasions and every day with food, friends, and family.
The kitchen is under the direction of James Beard Award-winning Executive Chef Hugo Ortega, whose American Dream started at Backstreet. He began his career in the restaurant business here , first as dishwasher and busboy and later as a line cook before graduating from culinary school and becoming its executive chef and owner, along with wife Tracy Vaught. A former geologist, Vaught decided to forsake the oil business for a more people-oriented profession and opened Backstreet Cafe, her first restaurant, in 1983. Together, they have created an award-winning Houston restaurant family that also includes Hugo’s, Caracol and Xochi in Houston, and a partnership in Origen in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Backstreet Cafe’s menu is a perfect reflection of diverse Houston, with Southern, Cajun, Creole, Hispanic and Asian influences, among others. The menu changes seasonally to capture the freshest flavors, with a nod to local and sustainable ingredients. Housed in a cozy ’30s-era house in Houston’s River Oaks, Backstreet affords diners several cozy dining areas on two levels. The downstairs dining room features a large marble-top bar, intimate banquette seating, and views of both the front and back patio areas. Upstairs, the restaurant has two dining rooms for brunch, lunch and dinner seating and private functions. The Solarium is a wonderful room for everyday dining and private functions, separated from the main upstairs dining room by French doors.
One of Backstreet’s most popular attractions is its legendary patio. More often than not, diners opt to eat on the New Orleans-style patio under the spreading camphor tree in the midst of flowering shrubbery. Backstreet Cafe is your home away from home.
Corn Pudding has been part of the Backstreet Cafe menu for at least 25 years as the side to the Backstreet classic Red Corn Chicken Enchiladas. The following recipe is for a large Corn Pudding to serve family-style, the way we offer it on our Thanksgiving and Christmas to-go menus. At Backstreet, it is made as individual servings in 3 ounce-containers. It is great served either way!
- 7 cups fresh corn kernels
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 whole eggs, separated
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- pinch ground cinnamon
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, cooled
- Place corn kernels in a large saucepan and add enough water to barely cover, about ½-inch above. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Leave boiling until tender, about 15 minutes more. Remove from heat, strain and cool completely.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325˚F. Lightly spray a 3-quart baking dish and set aside.
- Place eggs and yolks, heavy cream, sugar, salt, black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and ½ amount of corn kernels in the blender and process to a smooth consistency, about 5 minutes. The mixture should resemble the texture of a fruit smoothie. Transfer to a large bowl and add the remaining corn kernels and melted butter. Mix to combine.
- In a separate clean bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Fold into corn mixture. Transfer mixture into prepared baking dish. Place baking dish in a large roasting pan and add enough water to fill ¾ of the way. Cover and place in oven. Bake in water bath for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven, uncover, and return to oven for an additional 15 to 20 minutes to lightly brown the top.
KITCHEN TIP: BAKING CORN PUDDING
Process corn mixture in the blender until light and airy. To bake, place a sheet pan over the roasting pan. Do not use aluminum foil to cover because it entraps the air and will cause the corn pudding to puff up.
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