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This is our family’s favorite way of using up leftover baked ham.  It comes from a favorite cookbook, “What’s Cooking in Kentucky”.  This is a typical 1950s era luncheon dish, probably served with a gelatin salad of some kind and a super-rich dessert.

The cookbook says that when President Dwight Eisenhower visited the birthplace of Lincoln at Hodgenville, Kentucky, the Women’s Club served lunch to the visitors.  President Eisenhower asked for a second helping of this pudding and the recipe, saying he was an amateur chef and wanted to add it to his collection.

Hodgenville Ham Pudding

  • 1-1/2 cups of buttery cracker crumbs (such as Ritz or Town house) – divided
  • 1 cup grated cheese – divided (I like cheddar)
  • 1 cup finely chopped ham – divided
  • 2 Tblsp. diced pimiento – divided
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, diced – divided
  • 1-1/2 cups white sauce (recipe follows) – divided

White Sauce

  • 2 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups milk

In medium saucepan, combine flour, salt and pepper.  Whisk in cold milk until smooth, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to bubble.  Continue stirring for 2 minutes and then remove from heat.

Butter a 9x9x2 baking dish.

In bottom of baking dish place 1/2 cup of cracker crumbs.  Moisten with 1/2 cup white sauce.  Add 1/2 cup grated cheese, 1/2 cup diced ham, 1 Tlbsp. diced pimiento, and one diced hard-boiled egg.

Add another 1/2 cup of cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup white sauce, 1/2 cup grated cheese, 1/2 cup diced ham, 1 Tblsp. diced pimiento, and one diced hard-boiled egg.

Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cracker crumbs on top of casserole.

Bake @ 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes until bubbly hot and crusty.

Makes 6 servings.

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This dish can be made ahead for baking later in the day.  Add 10 minutes or so more baking time to compensate for the food coming straight from the refrigerator.

The cookbook, “What’s Cooking in Kentucky” by  Irene Hayes (my version is the Revised Edition 1979) is probably the most used cookbook I own – and I have a lot of cookbooks.  The recipes are down-home, country style, contributed by women from all over Kentucky, and the timing was perfect for me when I got the book for my birthday in 1982.  We had just moved to the country and I had lots of good produce coming into the kitchen every day, sometimes with my husband carrying it in a wheelbarrow!  I notice the book is still available online and it would be a nice addition to anyone’s collection.