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December 31, 2009

steamed persimmon pudding

An absolutely must make for this time of year and possibly one of my very favorite desserts of all time. A little sweet, a little spicy. It’s the old fashioned cakey pudding, btw. Not like the kind you eat with a spoon that comes out of a box. If you’ve never had this before, just make it. You shan’t be sorry.

It’s also a delightfully resilient recipe. As in if you, SAY, forget the egg and realize this only after you’ve started the pudding steaming on the stove, you can dump the batter back into a bowl and add the egg and it still comes out perfectly tasty. That’s my kind of “baking”.

Don’t they look like pretty orange jewels all lined up in their box?

So, the only complicated part of the recipe is procuring very ripe persimmons. These are abundant at farmers markets this time of year. And actually many grocery stores sell them too, just not ripe. So if you plan ahead you can ripen them yourself on the kitchen counter. The classic variety would be Hachiya, which are 100% inedible until they are dead ripe. Like they taste very similar to sandpaper. So make sure they are suuuuuper soft. I’ve also used super soft Fuyu before, ripened on the counter for a few weeks. I found an excellent post about persimmons on Food Blogga if you’re not familiar with them.

Steamed Persimmon Pudding
from Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
2 to 3 ripe ripe ripe Hachiya persimmons, enough for 1 cup puree
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

I lied. There’s one more semi-complicated part. Organizing your steaming situation. Not hard, you just have to get it set up. Select a bowl for you pudding. It can be made of crockery, metal, or glass… or you can use a real pudding mold. The most important thing is that it needs to fit inside a large dutch oven-type pan (or something similar) with the lid on. Place a small inverted bowl in the pan you’ve chosen as your steaming vessel and make sure the pudding bowl sits comfortably on top of the bowl when the lid is on. You’re evenutally going to fill the outer pan with bowling water and then simmer the pudding in the pan with the lid on. Hopefully this makes sense.

Kay, now onto the recipe.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Using a little bit, liberally brush the inside of your pudding dish and set aside.

Bring a kettle of water to boil.

Halve the persimmons, pick out any seeds (sometimes there’s one big one in the middle), and scrape the super soft fruit out of the skins. Puree and measure 1 cup.

Mix the puree with the melted butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, milk and salt.

Stir the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon together. Then wisk the dry mixture into the wet.

Pour the batter into your pudding dish and set it inside the pan, on top of the inverted bowl. Pour the boiling water into the outer pan so that it comes about 2/3 of the way up the pudding dish. Cover the outer pan with its lid and cook gently on the stove for about 1 1/2 hours. Make sure the water is just barely simmering. If it boils too vigorously, it can tip your pudding over. Especially if your pudding dish isn’t heavy enough. You also don’t want the water boiling over into the pudding itself.

You’ll know the pudding is done when it turns a dark chocolately brown and an inserted knife comes out clean.

You can either invert the pudding onto a serving plate or if it’s for some reason not coming out of the mold easily, just spoon individual servings out of the mold.

Serve with loosely whipped cream and slices of fresh Fuyu persimmons. Vanilla ice cream makes a nice accompaniment too.

Happy New Years Eve everyone! And Betty, definitely make this. I’ll post the chestnut recipe soon. Amazing how unmotivated I am to sit at my computer when I’m away from home.


  1. {lovely little things} said on January 1, 2010

    yum, I tried my first persimmon a little over a year ago. this sounds delish!

  2. betty said on January 1, 2010

    Ooh – thank you so much for posting the recipe (and the link!)

    Looks like I just found myself a little weekend project – we have a handful of persimmon ripening in the kitchen right now!

    Happy New Year!

  3. Félicie said on January 14, 2010

    I had a persimmon pudding once for dessert. It was delicious. The friends have moved away, and we have lost touch, so I can no longer ask for the recipe. I know it was boiled (steamed), not baked. I made an attempt to reproduce it once using a recipe from the net, but the texture did not come out right. It was too cakey (baking powder or soda was one of the ingredients). The pudding that was served to me was fudgy in consistency. Perhaps it didn't have baking powder. Was your pudding on the cakey or fudgy side? It does look very delicious. Thanks for sharing.

  4. lovelymorning said on January 14, 2010

    This one is cakey. Moist, but definitely cakey. Though highly recommend giving it a go. Soooo delicious.

  5. Félicie said on January 15, 2010

    Thank you. I'll try it when I find good persimmons.

  6. Jill said on April 19, 2010

    Just made this tonight (it's persimmon season here in Australia at the moment!).

    It was absolutely delicious, but I wonder whether you omitted a direction to cover the pudding basin (not just the outer saucepan) with foil or similar? That's a pretty standard step for most steamed puddings, and leaving the basin uncovered left me with a very sticky, too-wet final result, even though I cooked it for over two hours.

    Still tastes darn good though — thanks for sharing!

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