Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Consider The Persimmon

How many times have you seen these orange beauties at the market and just walked by? I was taken by an overflowing mound of them a few weeks back and had to bring some home. They sat in a moss vintage green bowl for a time, looking lovely on the living room cocktail table. Slowly they began to soften and were moved into the kitchen until finally these bright orange persimmons felt like bright orange water balloons. Now it was time to eat them.

The persimmons we find most often in the United States are Hachiya. While native to the south east, they do grow wild throughout Indiana and Illinois. Who knew? Horribly astringent when even slightly under ripe, they are perfect for the procrastinating baker or at least, an over scheduled one.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday we had a houseful of kids one night and I decide to whip up a quick pudding. While I had my doubts that it would appeal to our young guests, I forged ahead. There is nothing I like better than introducing kids to a new food they didn't know they liked. I sliced the fruit in half and scooped the glossy fruit from it's skin. Isn't it beautiful?

The recipe below calls for 2 cups but should you have more or your persimmons are ready before you are, you can freeze the pulp to use later. Love that.

Flour, sugar, cinnamon, eggs and lots of buttermilk finished with a dose of heavy cream. Shaping up nicely, pretty basic.

I made the whole recipe by hand. No need for the stand mixer or even a hand mixer. Sometimes these lazy recipes are just what you need. Baked in a trusty 9x13. I even baked it before we fed the troops dinner and served it at room temperature.

Moist and dense but not cloying or overly sweet. Dolloped with whipped cream. Mmmmmm. I can't imagine how much I could have eaten if it had been warm.

The best part was that all six kids asked for seconds. Seriously, consider the persimmon...

Indiana Persimmon Pudding

From The New Thanksgiving Table

1 T. butter, at room temperature for buttering pan
2 cups persimmon pulp (about 8)
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 t. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. sea salt
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 T. butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13 baking pan.

Cut the persimmons crosswise and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh, discarding the stems and seeds. Use the back of the spoon to press the flesh into a soft pulp. Measure out 2 cups. Combine the two cups of pulp, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add the persimmon mixture, one-third at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the buttermilk, cream and melted butter. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes or until nicely browned and slightly puffed at the edges.

Serve warm or or re-warm but ours was lovely at room temperature, too.

Before serving top with softly whipped cream.

Yield: 12-16 servings


Carla said...

Hey- do you have any interest in the cookie swap thang? I got a link to a MARTHA article describing how to do it-
I saw you at TJ"S yesterday but it was crowded and I was on lunch break- :-)

Georgine said...

YUM! I sam sorry I missed last night, but I couldn't breathe at all through my nose and I didn't think it would be fair if people couldn't hear you over my breathing. PLus, it felt like I was carrying a brick around in my nose. I am going to the doctor today. I will give you a ring and apologize again. I am bummed I missed it.