Sunday, December 20, 2020

Steamed Persimmon Pudding

Steamed Persimmon Pudding Decorated with California Holly
California Holly = Live Oak + Rose Hips

Recipe from Old Surrey, England

A few years ago I met a delightful woman at a winter solstice party. We both had studied art under the same professors at University, and both loved collecting historical recipes. Plus she had concocted my favorite dish of entire potluck using an old time recipe. As I raved over it, she insisted on sending me the details. Alas, I’ve lost touch with her over the years and have forgotten her name, but not her face. This year, for the first time, I made her traditional persimmon pudding recipe from Surrey, a charming rural county southeast of London.

Persimmon Pudding Sliced to Serve
Steamed to Perfection
Steaming a pudding is intimidating, but careful planning helps. If you don’t have a pudding mold, you’ll need a heatproof container that will hold about 7 cups (6 cups batter plus breathing room) and fit into a steamer. The steamer can be a pot with a cooling rack in it, or a large pot with its own steamer insert. I didn’t have a large enough container to hold all the batter AND fit into my steamer pot. So, I put the extra cup of batter into a small ramekin, covered it, and steamed it separately in a small 3-part veggie-steaming pot. The smaller unit took only one hour to steam.

Persimmon Pudding with Cream
Traditionally Served With Unsweetened Whipped Cream
Note: if you’re planning to ignite brandy and pour it over the pudding before serving, using mold or baking dish with sloping sides helps. A flat-bottom baking dish will produce a flat-topped pudding, on which the flaming brandy will pool rather than flowing gracefully down the sides. This is especially important if you put the traditional holly sprig on top. The pooling brandy will eventually ignite the holly, especially if you’ve substituted California live oak and rose hips for the holly. For best results with a flat-top, remove the holly, then ignite. Heed my recklessness!

This first pudding I’ve ever steamed pudding came out great—even though I was a few ounces short on persimmons, had to steam a small extra ramekin (later enjoyed as a midnight snack for two), and ignited the holly a bit. The recipe seems quite forgiving, so have fun with it! Happy Holidays!

Flaming Brandy on Steamed Persimmon Pudding
Better Practice: Remove Holly First, Then Flame
Steamed Persimmon Pudding
serves ~8 - 10

  • 3 ripe persimmons
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ cup soft butter
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • butter for greasing mold

Peel and mash the persimmons well, or liquefy them with an immersion blender. Measure out 2 – 2½ cups. Mix in baking soda and set aside.

Cream the butter. Add the sugar and cream again. Beat in the eggs. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla.

Mix together flour and cinnamon. Stir into egg mixture.

Add persimmon mixture to the batter and stir till combined. Stir in raisins and pecans.

Butter the inside of a 6 – 8 cup pudding mold or round ceramic ramekin. Spoon the batter into the mold. Lock the lid on, or secure aluminum foil over top of ramekin with 2 – 3 heavy-duty rubber bands.

Place a metal cooling rack inside a large pot, or use a large steamer pot. Place the sealed mold on the rack or in the steamer unit. Add boiling water to till halfway up the side of the mold. Cover the pot.

Turn heat to high till water boils again, then reduce heat to steam pudding for 2½ hours. Remove mold from pot, and cool on cooling rack for 5 minutes.

Remove the lid or foil and shake pudding around to loosen it from the mold. Turn onto serving dish upside down. Serve warm or cold with unsweetened whipped cream.

You may prefer to serve with brandy or rum sauce from my Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce recipe.

Or douse the pudding with 2 - 4 tbsp. warmed brandy and set it on fire. According to the California Brandy Advisory Board, to flame brandy correctly, it must be warmed ahead of time. Warm the brandy, but don’t bring it to a boil. Then carefully ignite using a long match and pour the still-flaming liquid over the pudding. High-proof rum can also be flamed in this manner.

Creaming Eggs into Butter and Sugar
First Cream the Butter, Sugar, and Eggs
Mixing Wet and Dry Ingredients
Mix Wet and Dry Ingredients Before Adding Persimmon
Adding Persimmon to Batter
Stir Persimmon with Baking Soda into Batter
Adding Fruit and Nuts to Batter
Stir in Fruit and Nuts Last
For Traditional Christmas Pudding: Douse with Flaming Brandy

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