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Traditional Wild Persimmon Pudding
Source: A family recipe, not only for us but for countless families east of the Mississippi River (Entered by Janice Matthews)
Persimmons have been an important part of our American heritage from earliest times; when the first European settlers arrived, they learned of them from the Algonquin Indians, who were already adding them to breads, soup, and porridge. These settlers used the new fruit in many ways, including as the basis for a variety of alcoholic drinks. However, a recipe much like the one here was probably part of some of the first Thanksgiving menus. Despite its name, this is not today’s soft custardy sort of pudding, but the traditional English style that was most familiar to the early settlers. With many variations, this recipe has been passed down through generations, and was a holiday staple for many rural families in the Southeast until at least the 1940s.
Serves: Makes 6 small, rich servings
Step by Step Instructions
- There are many ways to prepare persimmon pulp. Here's one: remove any persimmon caps. Then put 6-8 fruits in a sieve, and gently rinse them. (No need to peel.) Use the back of a large spoon to press them against the sieve screen, alternately turning the mass and scraping off the outside of the screen into a measuring cup. When only seeds are left, discard them. Repeat as needed.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf (bread) pan.
- Mix together the persimmon pulp, honey, egg,softened butter, and milk.
- Mix or sift together the dry ingredients (flour, soda, baking powder, salt). Then add this to the wet ingredients, and mix together gently.(Don't overmix... A few lumps of persimmon or butter in the batter won't matter.)
- Bake for about 1 hour, until pudding is set and slightly dry on top. The edges should be slightly carmelized, and a toothpick stuck into the pudding's center should come out clean. (The edges will probably collapse inward when the pudding is taken from the oven. This is okay!)
- Let the pudding cool for at least half an hour to set up. Serve slightly warm with cream, whipped cream, "hard sauce" or ice cream.
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