A few months ago, I was shopping the Borders going out of business sale, and I came across a book of regional American Thanksgiving recipes. It was in the remainder section, and with the additional mark-downs, it was practically free. I picked up a copy for myself and a few extra copies for some of my online baking friends. Once everyone had their books, we all set out to find the recipes we wanted to try.
My friend Kayte was the first to point out this recipe, and I knew as soon as I saw it that I wanted to try it. Although I’m a Hoosier born and bred, I never had persimmon pudding growing up. If fact, even though I lived in Indiana until I was 10 years old, the first time I tasted a persimmon was in high school in Lancaster County, PA.
The most challenging part of this recipe was finding the persimmons. They are in season from October through February, but it was mid-November before they appeared in the produce section of my local grocery store. And the ones that I bought were quite underripe. If you know anything about persimmons, you know that you can’t eat them until they are dead ripe or your mouth will completely dry up and leave you puckered like a toothless old codger. So I put my persimmons in a paper bag and waited. And waited. And waited.
It was several weeks (yes, weeks) before they were ripe. And they actually could have benefitted from another week or so. But my patience was at an end, so I peeled and mashed them and pressed on with the pudding.
Besides the persimmons, the recipe called for butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, buttermilk, and heavy cream. After mixing the ingredients, I baked the pudding at 350°F for about 45 minutes, until the pudding was set and nicely browned.
This bakes up more like a cake or custard than what I usually think of as pudding. It smelled really good coming out of the oven, and I was glad the recipe said to eat it warm. I didn’t taste a strong “persimmony” flavor, but the pudding was really delicious. We ate it with a dollop of whipped cream for dessert the evening I baked it, and continued to enjoy it over the next few days.
Kayte claims to be able to buy persimmon pulp in the frozen section of her local groceries. If I am ever able to find that around here, I will probably try this recipe again. But as much as I enjoyed it, I don’t think I have the patience the wait for persimmons to ripen to make it very often.