Long ago and far away we lived in a magical blue house. There, a secret garden contained a glass orchid house and a giant persimmon tree. It was there and then that I learned to make Persimmon Pudding, a holiday Bijouxs from Christmas past.
Persimmons were a fruit I had no experience cooking until I had a persimmon tree, laden with beautiful orange orbs beginning each November. Recipes needed to be secured. Steamed Persimmon Pudding remains the favorite of all my persimmon recipes.
First a few words about persimmons. There are generally two varieties you will see in the markets this time of year, one is the Hachiya, which is the primary persimmon used in holiday baking, the second variety is the Fuyu (feature image), traditionally this variety is eaten raw, while still firm, vs. the Hachiya which is not eaten raw, instead the pulp from the very ripe fruit is used in baking cookies, puddings, etc. But to stay clear from the persimmon variety battle, I use the pulp from either ripe variety for the pudding. Some recipes do specify the variety, some do not, simply calling for the required amount of the persimmon pulp. I prefer the Hachiya variety, but when given any variety of persimmons, I am bound to make steamed pudding.
To prepare the persimmon pulp, you simply remove the core and stem and scoop out the pulp. Sieve the pulp to create a smooth puree, making sure there are no seeds or bits of the skin. You need only a cup of the persimmon pulp for the pudding. I never seem to be able to coordinate the ripening time with the cooking date, so as the persimmons ripen, I prepare the pulp and freeze in one cup portions – ready to go when I am.
Steamed persimmon pudding is easy once you have the pulp covered. The ingredients are basic and the batter is mixed together by hand in one bowl. When I am baking (or in this case steaming) I like to set up a prep tray, with ingredients pre-measured, to keep me on track, and I find I have a much more enjoyable cooking experience, avoiding racing all over measuring and seeking out ingredients.
The one specialty piece of cookware you will need is a pudding mold. Pudding molds are easily secured at cooking stores and larger department stores this time of year. I still use the inexpensive tin mold I have had for years.
If you have not steamed a pudding before, no worries it is easy. There are just a few things to be aware of to help make your pudding a success. The first is to thoroughly spray the inside and the lid of the mold with a non-stick cooking spray, this will ensure that the pudding unmolds without hesitation. Second, is the flame on the stovetop must be set to the lowest setting, use a flame tamer is you have one, you want a gentle steam, not a boil. Third, is the water level in the pot should be maintained up to about halfway on the side of the mold. I check the water about every 45 minutes and add additional boiling water to the pot as necessary.
After the pudding has finished steaming, remove the mold lid and allow it to cool for about 15 minutes. Unmold the pudding onto the serving platter, by placing the serving plate on top and quickly inverting the plate right side up, and gently removing the mold.
You may serve the pudding warm, or make it ahead and serve at room temperature. It is rich and moist, loaded with traditional holiday flavors. I like to serve Persimmon Pudding with a light lemon sauce, but it is equally delicious with whipped cream with a dash of brandy or Grand Marnier.
Persimmons are a beautiful holiday season fruit. Bill Livingston a special guest photographer to the Bijouxs studio photographed the feature image of the Fuyu persimmons. I look forward to sharing more of the fabulous images he shot for Bijouxs in upcoming posts in the New Year. To see more of his photography visit his website.
This began as a story about Persimmon Pudding from Christmas past, and ended with a wonderful peek at the New Year ahead at Bijouxs. Persimmon Pudding, a little jewel for every Christmas, past and present.