Friday, January 31, 2014

Persimmon Pudding (Bread) with Lemon Sauce

Dala Horse with Persimmon Pudding with Lemon Sauce
Celebrating Year of the Wood Horse with Pudding

Recipe from "Orange County Fair Centennial Cookbook" and Dave Wilson Nursery

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Let’s welcome the Chinese Year of the Wood Horse. According to Bay Area astrologer and feng shui consultant Susan Levitt, we can expect fast victories, unexpected adventure, surprising romance, and success in travel off-the-beaten path this year.  Since China produces almost 75% of the persimmons in the world—and because I still have a goodly amount from my friend and super-realtor Bill, I’m celebrating the new year with an award-winning persimmon pudding recipe from the 1920s, topped with in-season lemon sauce from a longtime California-based fruit grower.

Eighteen Ripe Persimmons on Countertop
Last Persimmons of the Year
This pudding recipe is more bread-like than my Persimmon Pudding I (your basic pudding) and Persimmon Pudding II (eggless) recipes. Its firmer texture will allow slicing when cool, though scooping is easier when hot. Fruits and nuts add to its bread-y character. Winner of an award in the Orange County Fair, this recipe was published in the 1992 “Orange County Fair Centennial Cookbook,” a collection that highlights the best recipes of the Fair’s first 100 years.  Martha Ritchey, owner of the Ritchey Ranch in Tustin, CA, created the recipe in the late 1920s to put the five acres of persimmons that she planted to good use. Her nephew states—in 1992—that his family has enjoyed this recipe for five generations. That would be at least six generations now.

Scoop of Pudding with Lemon Sauce
Scoop the Pudding if it's Still Warm
I did make a few recipe alterations. First, I cut the sugar in half. With the sweetness of the lemon sauce (and even without), it’s not necessary. Ms. Ritchey doesn’t specify what kind of nuts to use. I used a combination of almonds and hazelnuts that I had on hand. Walnuts or pecans are probably more traditional. Ms. Ritchey says to use either raisins or dates in the pudding. I’ve adapted that to half golden raisins and half brown raisins, again based upon what I had available. Any combination of these fruits will work.

2 Pans of Pudding, Lemon Sauce, and plate with pudding and sauce
The original recipe calls for lemon sauce or hard sauce topping, but doesn’t provide a recipe. I adapted this lemon sauce recipe from a collection of persimmon recipes published on the Modesto-based Dave Wilson Nursery website. In operation since 1938, this nursery provides trees for home gardens as well as commercial orchards. Their website is loaded with information about fruit tree cultivation, and they offer classes throughout California. Check them out if you have, or want to have, fruit trees. Backyard orchard culture is a rewarding “growth opportunity” for the new year!

Slice of Persimmon Pudding with Lemon Sauce
Slice the Pudding if it's Cold
Persimmon Pudding or Bread with Lemon Sauce

2 cups persimmon pulp
2 tsp. baking soda
2½ cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup chopped hazelnuts
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup brown raisins
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla
3 tbsp. melted butter

Butter and flour 4½ “ X 8½ “ two loaf pans.

Mash persimmons and stir in baking soda in small container. Set aside.

In small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

In another medium container, combine chopped almonds and hazelnuts thoroughly with golden and brown raisins. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat eggs with electric mixer. Add white and brown sugar and beat together until light and fluffy. Beat in persimmon mixture, milk, vanilla, and cooled melted butter.  

Stir in the flour mixture. By hand, stir in nuts and raisins with just a few strokes.

Turn batter into 2 buttered and floured loaf pans. Bake  at 350 degrees F. for one hour. Serve with hard sauce or lemon sauce.

When cool, the pudding can be sliced like bread.

Lemon sauce

½ cup sugar
1tbsp. plus 1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. grated lemon rind
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 cup water
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. butter

Stir together sugar, cornstarch, lemon rind, nutmeg, and salt in a small saucepan. Add water and stir to blend. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and clear, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately stir in lemon juice and butter. Serve warm over pudding. 

Sauce recipe will top one of the two puddings; make a second batch if you want to top both loaves. Reheat in small saucepan, stirring constantly, and adding up to 2 tbsp. water to thin.

Dala Horse on Plate with Pudding and Lemon Sauce
Welcome Year of the Wood Horse

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