Persimmon Pudding

So, it turns out that I have a persimmon tree.  I know. I had no idea either.  It’s over on the side of my house where I pretty much never go because there is nothing really over there. Except, apparently, a persimmon tree.

My grandmother’s house in Southern California has a persimmon tree, and every year for decades she made batches and batches of persimmon pudding and persimmon cookies with the harvest from that tree.

Her tree is a well behaved Asian cultivar that produces fat round fruits like bright orange tomatoes. Mine seems to be a native North American persimmon tree. The fruit is really only about the size of a large acorn. They’ve been through a few frosts at this point, which is supposed to sweeten them up. It also makes them really wrinkly and ugly.

Persimmons

Persimmons in a mixing bowl

See what I mean?

Luckily, I am not the kind of girl who lets ugly fruit, a doubting boyfriend or a lack of botanical certainty get between her and dessert.  So, I called my mother, who called her sister, who came up with my grandmother’s persimmon pudding recipe.

The first step is to puree the persimmon flesh.  With the nice big cultivated persimmons, you can cut off the top, scoop out the seeds and chuck the rest in a blender.  This would never work on my tiny persimmons, so I just pulled off the tops and smashed the rest of the fruit by hand through a sieve.

Persimmons in the sieve

Pureed persimmons in the sieve

At this point David muttered something about gross and unusual behavior, but I am sure he wasn’t talking about me because this is exactly the sort of thing I get up to all the time.

Persimmon pudding before baking

Persimmon pudding before baking

After you have a cup of persimmon puree, you make the pudding by mixing the puree with milk and egg and sugar and butter and flour and spices and baking it in the oven for about an hour.  It comes  out of the oven a deep brown color with the texture of a very dense moist cake.

It’s best eaten warm with ice cream, custard or whipped cream.

Persimmon pudding

Persimmon pudding ready to serve

Grandma Kay’s Persimmon Pudding Recipe:

  • 1 cup persimmon puree
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs butter, melted
  • 2 Tbs baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon*
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg*
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350f. Mix together fruit, milk, egg, sugar and butter.  Add the baking soda and spices and mix well.  Add the flour and stir just until moist. If using nut, stir them in gently.

Pour the batter into a greased 8×8 pan (I used a 9-in pie pan because it was prettier than my 8×8 pan. It worked great). Bake until no longer jiggly, but still moist in the center.  The original recipe called for an hour in the oven, but I pulled mine out around the 40 minute mark, and it was perfect.

It comes out of the oven a vary dark brown, but don’t panic you haven’t burnt it (unless, of course, you have).  Persimmons just turn crazy dark brown during cooking.

*These spices were not in the original recipe, but I think they add a lot of interest to the recipe.

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