Several weeks ago, just before Christmas, I was delighted when a kindly neighbor showed up at my door bearing a gift of a goodly amount of persimmons in a bag. I LOVE persimmons, so this was quite a treat! However, fortunately or unfortunately, they were all simultaneously fully ripened. Perplexed, I decided to risk freezing a few and to ponder later what I would do. I did have the good sense to skin them and measure them out into cups so I might readily use in whatever recipe I would settle on once I’d had time to decide how I might use their deliciousness. A brief google foray got me thinking persimmon pudding might be a good direction to go.
The last of the Christmas decor now wrapped and stored in boxes and back into the shed I finally had time to continue delving into the direction I’d thought most interesting–a lovely pudding. I was in for a surprise. Somehow thinking this was rather a Southern dish I discovered that persimmon pudding is more the realm of folks in Indiana. I have no idea why. Are they the persimmon capital of the world? Equally interesting is that persimmon pudding is apparently an English Christmas fixture, right up there with fruitcake if I have interpreted correctly. Huh.
More importantly, as I read various recipes–and there were plenty, all different!–I began to realize that my notion of a soft creamy warm pudding coming out of the oven in perhaps a lovely orange tinge was out of the question, for persimmon pudding, it turns out, is more cake than anything I’d recognize as a pudding. Who knew?
Adding to the complexity was an intial question, which I took to twitter, knowing I had both Southern and English followers, as to whether it’s better to use whole milk, which I would expect, or buttermilk, which I had definitely not anticipated.
Blimey. This was getting more complicated, and about to get more so. For I learned that for a proper persimmon pudding [cake] one needs to have one of these:
And not only that, but, once the pudding [batter] is inside, one must affix it properly, and (I read) that if it’s not done properly, well, they can simply explode.
Which is why I moved on to another remedy.
Somewhere in my travels I read of a couple who also wanted to make persimmon pudding. And they, like I, had never eaten it before, so you can imagine there is a certain degree of hazard preparing something you have never actually seen–or tasted. Yes.
And this poor couple also were not the fine owners of a pudding mold, nor had they ever heard of one. But they were inventive, and tried using a bundt pan instead, which, unfortunately, became locked in the bottom of the pan in which they were boiling the pudding. Oh, yes, dear readers. You didn’t misread. I did say boiling. For the last bit of surprise came in the learning that one must place the mold in a pot of boiling water for two hours. Thus you can imagine the possibility of the exploding bit.
And since the couple did not have a lid for their bundt pan, they used tinfoil.
So I had an ah-ha moment!
I combined what I know about steamed puddings. [See rice pudding recipe here.] And was able to forgo a lengthy search for a pudding mold (certain there are none to be had in these parts!). And I made the pudding [batter] and filled my trusty pudding dishes, inherited from my Grandmother, about which I am very sentimental, 3/4 full. And put tinfoil over the top of each. And placed them all in waterbaths in large pyrex dishes. I had to use two to accommodate all the dishes. Here they are.
And then I ballparked how long they would take, which was one hour and a quarter at 350 degrees F in the oven, all while I watched the Golden Globes, so perfect. Oh, and I left out the best part! Rather than needing to decide whether to use whole milk or buttermilk I opted for a recipe than used brandy! Brilliant!
1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened!)
1 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup persimmon (peeled and mooshed)
3 t. brandy
2 large eggs
2 t. baking soda (mixed in 2 t. warm water)
1 and 1/2 t. ginger
1/2 t. cloves
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup raisins, golden raisins or currents or all three
Cream butter and sugar. Add flour, persimmon, brandy, eggs and baking soda mixture. Add vanilla, ginger, cloves and cinnamon. Mix. Fold in walnuts and raisins and/or currants.
Place in heatproof buttered pudding dishes or ramekins. Cover with tinfoil. Place in waterbath.
Place in oven for an hour and a quarter at 350 degrees F.
Remove from oven and from waterbath. Let sit briefly. Remove from dishes. May add hardsauce prior to serving, which one might readily make by mixing 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter, 1 cup of powdered sugar and a bit of brandy.
And here’s how they turned out. Absolutely delicious!
Served up nicely:
There truly is a benefit to sprouting one’s kitchen wings and trying something you have never made before, even if you’ve never even eaten it anywhere in your life. You draw upon your past experiences and you bumble through. You look things up. You ask. And voila, you’ve just expanded your dessert repertoire!
Love and kitchen adventure blessings,
Book News: Loveliest news today: Antonia just returned from two weeks in Bali, and she surprised me with the following tweet this afternoon, which left me in open-hearted tears:
Donated a copy of @KathrynHallPR’s Beautiful book to the Pondok Pekak Library in Ubud #Bali #Indonesia http://twitpic.com/8848ss
Please watch for the excerpt from Plant Whatever Brings You Joy soon in the January issue of Ode Magazine, due out end of the month! I’m excited! I do hope you enjoy the story!
If you have not yet checked out the trailer for the book, enjoy here.
Posted on January 16th, 2012 by Kathryn
Filed under: People at Life