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Steamed Persimmon Pudding with Silky Persimmon Purée

(recipe, Deborah Madison)


For steaming, you will need a bowl or pudding mold with a 6- to 8-cup capacity.


    Persimmon pudding
    1. ½ cup unsalted butter
    2. 2 to 3 ripe Hachiya persimmons, enough for 1 heaping cup of purée
    3. 1 cup sugar
    4. 1 egg, beaten
    5. 1 tsp. vanilla
    6. ½ cup milk
    7. ½ tsp. salt
    8. 1 cup all-purpose or whole-wheat white flour
    9. 2 tsp. baking soda
    10. 1 tsp. cinnamon
    Whipped cream
    1. 1 egg, beaten
    2. 1 cup powdered sugar
    3. 2 Tbsp. melted butter
    4. ¼ cup brandy
    5. 1 cup whipping cream
    Silky persimmon purée
    1. Pulp from 1 Hachiya persimmon (see Note)
    2. 1 Tbsp. sugar or honey, to taste as needed
    3. 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice, to taste
    4. Pinch of salt


    1. Choose your equipment: Select a bowl for your pudding. It can be made of crockery, metal, or glass, or it can be a proper pudding mold with a lid. Make sure it fits into a second pan when covered with a lid. Place a small inverted bowl or the metal rim from a canning jar into the pan for your mold to sit on so it won’t be directly over the heat.
    2. Prep the equipment: Melt the butter. Generously brush some of it over the inside of the pudding dish and set aside the rest. Put the buttered mold on the inverted bowl. Bring a teakettle of water to a boil.
    3. Make the pudding: Halve the persimmons, pick out any seeds, then scrape the soft fruit from the skins. Purée, then measure 1 cup. Put the purée in a bowl with the remaining melted butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, milk, and salt. Whisk until well combined.
    4. Stir the dry ingredients together, then whisk them into the wet ingredients.
    5. Pour the batter into the buttered mold. Add boiling water from the kettle to the saucepan — enough to come up ⅔ of the sides of the mold — and then cover the mold. (You can use waxed paper covered with foil for this.) Simmer gently for 1½ hours.
    6. When the pudding is done, a cake tester inserted will come out clean. Remove the pudding mold from the saucepan, then invert the pudding onto a serving plate. If you’re not ready to serve, leave the mold resting over the pudding so that it will retain its heat.
    7. Whip the cream: Beat the egg with the sugar, butter, and brandy. Whip the cream into soft peaks, then fold it into the remaining ingredients. If it separates before serving, a few strokes of the whisk will bring it back to a smooth, ivory sauce.
    8. Make the persimmon purée: Halve the persimmon, remove any seeds, and purée until smooth. Stir in the sugar, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Taste and add more sugar or lemon juice, if desired. (Makes about 1 cup.)
    9. Assemble the final dessert: Spoon a little of the whipped cream around the base of the pudding, along with a ribbon of the persimmon of purée. Or you can spoon drops of the purée into the cream, then fan them out with a tip of the knife. If you like, garnish the plate with pine or holly.


    On retrieving the pulp: Once the persimmons have softened, I pierce the pointed ends with a sharp knife to open them up, then scoop out the flesh. Sometimes I gently squeeze the flesh off the skins. Either way, it’s a messy job, and sometimes bits of the skin get in with the pulp, but it's not a great matter. Just pick them out, or leave them in. (I give the bulk of the skins to my dog, who skillfully licks away whatever pulp remains.) If I’m not ready to make a pudding, I put the pulp in freezer bags in at least 1 cup amounts (more if I want a sauce) and use it later.