Persimmon Pudding–an Adventure!

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:

pudding mold

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!

Persimmon Pudding

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)
1/2 vanilla
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,
Kathryn xoxo

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 😀

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.

8 Responses to “Persimmon Pudding–an Adventure!”

  1. After all the trouble you went to, I’m glad they truned out really good! Gorgeous photography, too!
    I can make a guess about the pudding name.
    I read a lot of books, and from them I learned that in the UK any dessert is called a pudding! Here in the US we would say, “The dessert was Persimmon Cake.” They would say, “The pudding was Persimmon Cake.” Amazing what you can learn from reading junky novels!
    Have a great day!

  2. Hi, Lea, and welcome! Oh, is that it? In the UK desserts are puddings? I did not know that! I read chick lit from UK but don’t recall any pudding talk! Thanks for the tip! Kathryn xoxo

  3. Yum! Looks delicious, mom. I do so enJoy trying new recipes, as well. Good for you for exploring new treats, and thanks for sharing! 🙂


  4. Hi, Antonia! Thanks! I will bring you some! It’s yummy! Love, Mom xoxo

  5. Hey girlfriend, did you like the pudding? I’ve never eaten a persimmon I don’t think. I love the way the look though, all full of promise. Lovely news about your beautiful book.~~Dee

  6. Hi, Dee! I did! It’s delicious! It’s fascinating to me that you have never eaten a persimmon! My friend Betsy, who spends half time in Maine and half time in Florida read this post and let me know persimmons are “hard to come by.” Wow. Given that we get fruits from South America routinely I can’t quite imagine it would be so hard to send off persimmons to the Eastern half of the United States–particularly if they are common in Indiana! Anyway, persimmons are one of my very very favorite foods on the planet. I LOVE them. I find them exquisite. I hope you find them someone along the way.
    Thanks for the visit! Kathryn xoxo

  7. hi kathryn,
    this really brought back memories for me because somewhere in the very distant past, i remember making one of these for christmas one year and it was delicious. i used the water bath, tin foil method and yummy good too. i bet i know what you’re having next yule. 😉

    very sweet of your daughter to give away your book in Bali ….how nice for them too. i adore your book and am thinking of re-reading it just because i am growing a bit weary of this rain and feel a need for a little garden-y lift not that that is all it’s about but…. enough garden-y!

    thanks for your kind comment today. isn’t my sweet bella a love? a rather large love but we adore her. she is definitely the dog for me and i am happy things turned out as they did. a great pyr was about the very last dog ‘style’ i imagined for myself as i was completely smitten with my borders….until i met her. now we giggle over how big she is growing in her puppiness and how sweet are her paws. loveliness and much love in fur. XO

  8. Good morning, Linda! Lovely to hear from you! I’m delighted you made persimmon pudding in the same way! And yes, this recipe is a keeper!

    Thank you so much for letting me know you enjoyed the book! And I am continually amazed that folks tell me over and over again: I am rereading your book. (What higher compliment, right?)

    I am in love with your dog. Truly. And as much as I love my Border Collies, there is a part of me that has always wanted a Great Pyr. They appeal to my Pisces nature and make me think I’m in a fairyland. Enjoy that Bella! Hugs! Kathryn xoxoxo

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