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Author Notes: I fell in love with persimmons about 25 years ago when I lived in California and found a dripppingly sweet Hachiya hanging on a tree while taking a shortcut to a friend's for Thanksgiving. As soon as I touched it, it fell into my hands. It was so ripe it was almost liquid; it was like holding a handful of warm caramel. I ate the whole thing right there, and it was incredible -- like a new flavor that I hadn't ever experienced. Since then I've moved to New England, and have planted 7 of our native persimmon trees. The fruit is smaller, but maybe even more delicious than that Hachiya.
I've tried a lot of recipes to best show off the beautiful flavor of a ripe persimmon, and my favorite is this steamed persimmon pudding. This recipe is a combination of many, but most closely resembles a recipe from Martha Stewart. Mostly I reduced spices so that the persimmon flavor isn't overwhelmed, and made simplifications where I found it didn't effect the end result. If you've never had a steamed pudding, that is reason enough to make this; warm, rich and almost light (I'm trying to say not dense). I make one every year at Thanksgiving using my own persimmons, which I let ripen until they fall off the tree (see the wrinkled photo), but I also have made it with store bought Hachiyas, and the difference is minor. —Julio Childish
- 4.5 tablespoons Unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups Flour (all purpose works)
- .5 teaspoons Cinnamon
- .25 teaspoons Nutmeg
- .25 teaspoons Salt
- .25 cups Brandy (I'd go for the bottom shelf)
- .25 cups Raisins
- .25 cups Currants (dried of course)
- 4 Hachiya persimmons. I buy them 2 weeks in advance. Let them get ridiculously ripe.
- 1 cup Whole milk
- 1.5 cups Sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
- 1.5 teaspoons Baking soda, dissolved in 1 1/2 tablespoons warm water
- 1 cup Pecans (roast at 300 F for 3 min, then cool and chop coarsely)
- 1/4 cup Candied ginger (chop this fine)
- Use additional butter to grease a 12-cup pudding mold. Fill a large pasta pot fitted with a steamer insert with enough water to come halfway up mold; set aside. Mix all of the flour, spices, and salt in a bowl; set aside. Put brandy, raisins and currants into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer for just a second. Remove from heat; let stand 15 - 30 minutes. Drain; discard liquid. Set raisins and currants aside.
- Cut the tops off persimmons. Spoon out flesh, and rub through a sieve into a bowl (you should have 1 1/2 cups persimmon puree). Whisk in milk; set aside.
- Combine butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Mix in eggs, vanilla, and lemon juice. Mix in persimmon mixture. Mix in baking soda mixture. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in pecans, raisins, currants, and ginger. Pour into prepared mold; cover with buttered lid. I've never had a problem, but I always tie some string around the lid and it's tabs to ensure that it cannot come off when I lift the mold out of the boiling water.
- Bring the water in the pasta pot to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer. Carefully lower mold into steamer. Cover pot, and steam until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, 3 to 3 1/2 hours (3 hours was perfect for my mold), checking water level every half hour or so (add boiling water if the level drops to 1/4 of the way up the side of the mold).
- Place mold on a wire rack; remove lid. Let cool 20 minutes. Invert mold onto a cake stand or plate, and cut into slices. Serve with brandy whipped cream.
Brandy Whipped Cream
- 1 cup Cream
- 1 tablespoon Sugar
- 2 tablespoons Brandy
- Whip cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Briefly mix in Brandy.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Persimmons
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