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Persimmon-Cranberry Pudding

Persimmon-Cranberry Pudding
The large, heart-shaped Hachiya persimmon must be very soft to the touch for the flesh to taste sweet. To hasten ripening, place the fruit in a closed paper bag for 2 or 3 days. Hachiyas are pureed and used in desserts like this pudding. Or, freeze them whole and eat with a spoon for a simple sorbet. The short, squat Fuyu persimmon, eaten when hard and crisp, adds sweetness and color to salads, appetizer plates and cheese plates. If you live in an area where wild persimmons grow, you can use 10 to 12 wild persimmons in place of the Hachiyas in this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large, very ripe Hachiya persimmons
  • 1 Tbs. baking soda
  • 1 1⁄2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room
     temperature
  • 1 1⁄2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1⁄4 cup dark rum or Cointreau
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1⁄2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
  • 1 cup black walnuts or pecans, chopped

Directions:

Place a small heatproof bowl upside down in the bottom of a large steamer or stockpot. Add water to almost cover the bowl. Butter a 3-quart metal pudding mold.

Cut the persimmons in half and spoon the pulp into a blender or food processor. Puree until very smooth. You should have 1 1⁄2 cups puree. Transfer the puree to a bowl. Stir in the baking soda and set aside; the mixture will thicken.

In a bowl, combine the flour, sea salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir to blend. In a large bowl, using a whisk or an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, rum and lemon juice. Stir in the puree. Gradually stir in the flour mixture until smooth. Stir in the orange and lemon zests, ginger, cranberries and nuts.

Bring the water in the pot to a simmer over medium heat. Pour the batter into the prepared mold and smooth the top; the mold should be about two-thirds full. Cover tightly with the lid or with a piece of aluminum foil secured with kitchen twine. Put the mold on the bowl in the pot, cover the pot and steam for about 2 1⁄2 hours, checking the pan every hour to add more water as needed. To test, uncover the pudding; the top should spring back when lightly touched. Transfer the mold to a wire rack and let the pudding rest in the mold for about 15 minutes. Unmold the pudding onto a warmed serving plate, cut into wedges and serve warm.
Serves 12.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Christmas, by Carolyn Miller (Simon & Schuster, 2003).