Steamed Persimmon Pudding
For this recipe, choose 2 bright orange Hachiya persimmons that have the stem and leaves still attached. Hachiya persimmons ripen after the first frost and are often sold rock hard. To hasten the ripening, place them in the freezer for 4 hours. As they thaw, they will become very soft. Cut away the top of the persimmon, scoop out the pulp, and whirl briefly in a food processor before pressing through a sieve with a wooden spoon to remove any fibers.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz./235 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (12 oz./375 g) sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 to 2 Hachiya persimmons, peeled and mashed to make 3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) puree (see note above)
- 2 to 3 Tbs. apricot jam
- Sweetened whipped cream for serving
Choose a pot large enough to contain a 4-cup (1-qt./1-l) metal pudding mold with lid and a wire rack to hold the mold above the pan bottom. Place the rack and mold in the pan and add water to come halfway up the sides of the mold. Remove the mold and bring the water to a boil. Coat the mold interior and lid with nonstick cooking spray.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices and set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until fluffy. Add the sugar and beat well. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the flour mixture and mix well. Add the persimmon pulp and beat until smooth. Spoon into the prepared mold and secure the lid.
Lower the filled mold onto the rack in the saucepan of boiling water. Return the water to a boil, then reduce the heat so that it simmers vigorously. Check the water every 15 or 20 minutes and add boiling water as needed to maintain the level halfway up the sides of the pudding mold. After 1 hour and 45 minutes, check the pudding by removing it from the water bath, opening the lid and touching the center. If it is firm to the touch, insert a skewer or cake tester; it should come out clean. If it is wet and sticky inside, return it to the saucepan and continue to check it every 15 minutes. The cooking time will vary depending on the shape of the mold and the depth of the saucepan.
Remove the mold from the saucepan and let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Invert the pudding onto a flat serving platter and tap the mold gently to release it.
In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the jam until it liquefies. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve set over a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush the jam over the outside of the pudding to give it a gloss. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream. Serves 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Fruit Desserts, by Carolyn Beth Weil (Weldon Owen, 2004)