A Chambers Family Recipe - Steamed Persimmon Pudding
How many times must one make a recipe before it becomes their own? Once? Ten times? Fifty? Whatever the answer, I think I'm agey enough and have made this wonderful steamed pudding often enough to call it a family recipe, even if I did get it from the wonderful Marion Cunningham at her cooking class in 1997.
Although I currently carry no wines that will nicely compliment your Thanksgiving dessert (which call for a nice ice wine, Vin de Glacier, or late harvest dessert wine!) I can't resist sharing this recipe with you. Call it repayment for having read this far. If you can overcome the hurdles necessary to get this pulled together, you'll find that it is a family favorite at your house too.
This recipe is In the great tradition of England's "Figgy Puddings", though that requires some explanation. The English term "pudding" is synonymous with our term "dessert". And Figgy Pudding implies a dessert made from figs that has been steamed - originally while wrapped in several layers of cloth. Figgy Pudding was a rather downscale holiday dessert.
This dessert is anything but downscale. It still relies on several hours of cooking in boiling water, but inside a metal mold - either the fancy version shown at left, or an ad-hoc version consisting simply of an old coffee can or two. Enough ado. Here's the recipe.
1 cup pureed persimmon (~ 2 large persimmons, skins removed)
2 tsp. Baking soda
8 Tbs (1 stick) butter at room temperature
1.5 cups sugar
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs rum
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. Cinnamon (I like to double this amount!)
½ tsp. Salt
1 cup broken walnuts or pecans
1 cup raisins (I like to mix regular and golden)
Fill a kettle large enough to hold a 2 Qt pudding mold with enough water to come halfway up the sides. (2 coffee containers covered tightly with foil will do - fill only ¾ full as the pudding expands.) Let the water come to a boil over medium heat while you mix the pudding batter.
Grease the mold well. Every nook and cranny. Butter is best.
In a glass mixing bowl, combine the persimmon puree and baking soda. Set aside while mixing the other ingredients (the persimmon mixture will stiffen).
Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, lemon juice, and rum and beat well. Add the flour, cinnamon, and salt, and stir to blend. Add the persimmon mixture and beat until well mixed. Stir in raisins and nuts.
Spoon the batter into the mold, cover tightly, and steam for approximately two hours. I've had my best luck finishing the pudding in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes before letting rest for 10-15 minutes and then unmolding. Re-heat just before serving, and top with unsweetened whipped cream, or a crème Anglais. For added celebration, warm 2 Tbsp of rum in a sauce pan for ten seconds, light and immediately pour flaming rum over top of unsliced pudding. Take to table in a darkened room and allow to expire (flame lasts for 20-40 seconds, so work quickly!)
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Dave the Wine Merchant
"What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?"
~ The Immortal Erma Bombeck (1927 - 1966), from "No One Diets on Thanksgiving," 26 November 1981
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