23 Nov How to make Persimmon Pudding
If you have ever watched The Nutcracker, you are familiar with the song “Dance of The Sugar Plum Fairy.” This lighthearted song has been a familiar holiday tune for over 100 years, but many people are less familiar with actual sugar plums. Well, you might be surprised to find out that these fruits are native to Cincinnati!
American Persimmons (sugar plums) are a deciduous tree native to the Southeast and Central US, including Southwest Ohio. During the fall, this orangey-pink fruit becomes a delicious treat that will satisfy any sweet tooth. Below, you will learn how to harvest wild persimmons and turn them into a dessert that will have the family scrambling for seconds this holiday season.
Persimmons are fairly easy to identify, from the tree to the actual fruit itself. Persimmon trees rarely grow over 40 feet, and typically have a slender trunk. One of the most distinctive characteristics is the tree bark, which has a chunky, scaly, greyish appearance, almost resembling crocodile skin.
When gathering persimmons, it is important to make sure they are ripe. Unripe persimmons are very astringent and will make your face pucker from the bitterness. Ripe fruit is soft, slightly wrinkly, and usually on the ground. A telltale sign is to twist the leafy bracts on the fruit: If it comes off easily, then it is ripe. You can also place unripe persimmons in a paper bag to ripen later.
Slice the persimmons in half & remove the seeds. Blend the pulp in a blender or food processor. It should look like this:
Preheat the oven to 325 °F – (350 °F for metal or silicone baking sheets)
Lightly grease the baking sheet with coconut oil
In 1 large bowl combine:
2 Cups flour
1.25 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg or ¼ teaspoon ground mace
Thoroughly mix these dry ingredients with a whisk.
In another large bowl combine:
2 Cups persimmon pulp
1 1⁄3 Cups sugar
¾ Stick softened unsalted butter
3 Cups skim or almond milk
2 jumbo or extra-large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Mix together the 2nd bowl with the wet ingredients, then slowly add in the 1st bowl. Mix until it has a consistent batter (some lumpiness is normal). Pour the batter equally into the baking dish and bake in the oven for 1 hour or until a fork comes out clean. Let the pudding set for about 30 minutes and serve warm. It pairs well with vanilla ice cream.