Thursday, November 17, 2011

Persimmon Holiday Pudding

I love persimmons and as soon as I spot them at my local supermarket, I buy several.  Since I'll be making a steamed pudding with them today, I thought I'd repost the recipe for my Persimmon Holiday Pudding.  It's worth revisiting. Enjoy!


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This steamed pudding, which originally came from a Martha Stewart Living publication, has been in my repertoire for about a decade now, and every year I seem to tweak it a little to make it more suitable to my tastes.  It has become a tradition to make at least one of these for our guests during the holidays and at least one or two to give away as a gift.  Even those who claim not to like persimmons, will be quite surprised at how delectable this dessert really is.  It reminds me of a plum pudding, which is very traditional for the holidays in Great Britain.  Why not try making one this season?




Persimmon Holiday Pudding




I came across these beauties at my local farmer's market.  Can you blame me for buying them? The most common persimmons are Fuyu and HachiyaFuyu persimmons are shaped like a squat tomato and are ready to use even when they are firm to the touch; the skins must be peeled.  Hachiya are more tear-shaped (pictured above) and must be soft before they are edible or they will be astringent.  There is a native persimmon that grows in the Midwest and South that many people swear by. Use whatever you like. 





Start by placing a small round cake rack at the bottom of a deep stockpot (the pot should be wide enough to accommodate your mold or bowl with about a 1" clearance all around).  This pudding can be made in a traditional pudding mold or in a heatproof bowl.  Fill your pot with water so that it comes up at least halfway up the sides of your mold.   Turn on your heat and bring it to a boil.




In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup cranberry juice.  Pour over 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries and let macerate for 10 minutes.  Drain & reserve 1 tablespoon.



Note: you may substitute other dried fruit, but use the same amount.



Slice the tops of 2 large persimmons.




Slip a large spoon under the skin and scoop out the flesh.  Cut the fruit & puree in your food processor until smooth.  If you notice any seeds, remove them.  You should have 1 1/2 cups puree. 

Note: you can mash this up with a pastry cutter if you don't have a food processor.





The Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons of room temperature unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large room temperature eggs
  •  1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  •  1 tablespoon reserved cranberry juice
  •  1 cup room temperature milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups persimmon puree
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1/2 cup chopped, dried cranberries that were macerated (above)




I'm using the new paddle attachment (right) for my Kitchenaid.  This has built in scrapers which reach up the sides of the bowl.



Cream your butter and sugar well until it is very light.  This should take you about 3 minutes or so.





Add your eggs one at a time.  You want the butter and sugar to absorb the eggs completely before adding the next one.  If you don't have one of the new paddles, stop your machine and scrape down your bowl at least once or twice.  This is very important.




Add the reserved cranberry juice.  At this point you should also add your vanilla.




Sift your dry ingredients into a large bowl using a sieve.  I know most people nowadays sift by using a whisk, but for this pudding, I use a sieve.






Add your pureed persimmon on low speed.  Mix well.  In a small bowl, combine your hot water and baking soda.  Add this to your mixture.




Add your dry ingredients next.  Mix this in 3 additions, alternating with the milk.  Incorporate these on low speed.  You don't want to have a snowfall of flour on your counter.



The milk being poured down the side of the bowl.





Finally add your dried cranberries.




 I used Pam with flour to prepare my mold.   A more traditional approach would be to butter the vessel.  A steamed pudding mold like this one should come with a lid, so spray/butter that too.  However, if you're using a pudding bowl, cover it with a piece of parchment and wrap it in a piece of foil.  You can secure it with a large rubber band or tie it with kitchen twine.





 Fill your pudding mold and scrape ever bit of batter.  I'm using a 2 qt. mold.





Carefully lower your pudding into the simmering water.  Steam for 2 hours and 15 minutes.  From time to time, check the water level and make sure it stays halfway up the sides of your mold.  If you find the water level below the midway point, add boiling water to the pot and continue steaming.  It's very important to maintain a simmer and NOT a boil.





 After the pudding is done, remove the mold carefully and cool on a rack for 15 minutes undisturbed.  Find a nice cake stand or serving plate and unmold it.  This one sits atop an antique pressed glass cake stand.  The pudding is quite fragrant and exceedingly moist.





I'm using some my favorite pieces of gilded Wedgwood drabware to serve tea & a generous wedge of the pudding.  The napkin is woven Russian jacquard.


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Now that I've shown you how easy it is to prepare this pudding, I hope you make it one of your traditions this holiday.  Suitable for Thanksgiving, Persimmon Holiday Pudding is a nice addition to the dessert table or alternative to pumpkin pie.  Make one for your guests and watch it disappear before the night is over.  Cheers!

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