We are not holding our traditional Pudding Hollow Pudding Contest this year. My schedule and my mother’s health make it uncertain that I’ll have the time it takes to put it together in October.
Nevertheless, as fall approaches I think fondly of this fun event. (You may see photos of last year’s festivities here.)
Contestants almost always enter more sweet puddings than savory, but I have a soft spot in my heart and palate for the savory ones.
The recipe below is for what may be my all-time favorite pudding entered in the contest, the Greek Eggplant Pudding from Nancy Argeris of Hawley, Massachusetts.
I ran across a small eggplant at a farm stand the other day and was inspired to throw together a miniature version of the recipe with my mother. We loved its slightly salty, eggplanty warmth.
We used the tiny eggplant plus 2 eggs and about a third of everything else. We probably could have made the whole recipe since the pudding is delicious the next day. As it was, we finished it off handily with a little help from Truffle, who like me is a sucker for feta cheese.
Her pudding supper filled her up nicely and sent her right to sleep.
The pudding takes a bit of time to put together as it has three stages—soaking, baking, and baking again. None of the stages is difficult, however.
2 medium to large eggplants
Kosher salt for sprinkling
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (more or less), divided
1 large white onion, finely chopped (I used a sweet onion as that’s what I had in the house)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
6 large eggs
1-1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 teaspoon fresh (I tend to use a bit more)
Peel the eggplants and cut them into 1/2-inch rounds. (For my smaller version I made the rounds a bit narrower.)
Place the eggplant slices in a colander, sprinkling salt on each layer as they go in. Let them sit with the salt for 45 minutes. Half an hour into this process, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
When the eggplant slices are through sitting rinse and dry them thoroughly. Lightly oil a baking sheet and place the slices on it, turning so that both sides have been oiled. Bake until the pieces soften, about 30 minutes.
In a small sauté pan sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat until the onion becomes translucent. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs. Stir in the crumbled feta, the oregano, and the onion mixture.
Oil a 3-quart baking dish and put a layer of eggplant at the bottom. Pour about 1/3 of the egg mixture on top. Repeat the layers, ending with the egg mixture.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the mixture sets. (Avoid overcooking the pudding. It doesn’t have to be brown.)
Serves 6 to 8.