When you look up old recipes for persimmons (many fruit for that matter) one thing you’ll often see are puddings. If you’re from America and you’re looking at the images here and wondering why this doesn’t come served in a cup, don’t worry, it’s ok. What you can technically describe as a pudding can depend on a number of different things.
Traditional puddings were most likely firm balls or forms cooked in a sack or muslin cloth. These puddings were very firm, and would resemble a cake to the American diner much more than a soft custard.
Somewhere along the line the word pudding was coopted and started to be used to refer to soft custards in America, but not so much in Britain and in Europe, where the term still seems to generally describe a similar dessert as I have here.
I really enjoy making traditional puddings like this, and they can be a great way to use up bits and pieces of preserved or frozen fruit that you may have from the previous season. The persimmon pulp here functions a bit like the mashed bananas in banana bread, keeping it moist.
A (mostly) wild dessert
My goal for this was to keep it as wild as possible. Here’s the key ingredients, all the fruits are naturally dried without any added sugar.
- Maple syrup
- Dried blueberries (dried small currants can be substituted)
- Dried chokecherry or black cherries, ground to a powder and sifted (optional)
- Dried, stoned wild plums (cranberries can be substituted)
- Acorn flour (you can substitute finely ground almond or hazelnut meal)
- Black walnuts are another good addition, start with 1/4 cup coarsely chopped (toasted or untoasted)
These ingredients are what I had on hand, so you should feel free to experiment with what you have on hand. The basic foundations of the cake won’t be compromised by adding a little extra of this or that.
- 8 oz 1 cup ripe persimmon pulp
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup acorn flour
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 2 oz melted lard coconut oil or butter
- Pinch salt
- Dusting of sugar for the mold
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- Dried wild fruit
- 1 oz dried wild plums or ¼ cup dried fruit
- ¼ cup dried wild blueberries
- 6 tablespoons dried chokecherries
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ of a nutmeg grated
- Whipped cream
- Chokecherry gastrique
- Soak the wild plums in water overnight or cover with water and simmer for 20 minutes. Grind the chokecherries to a flour, sift, discard the shell fragments and reserve.
- Remove the wild plums from the water and chop coarse, then add the wild blueberries to the leftover rehydrating liquid and allow to soak for 30 minutes or so, until softened.
- Combine the chopped plums, blueberries, and chokecherry flour.
- Mix the breadcrumbs, flour and baking powder and reserve.
- Mix the persimmon pulp and maple, puree in a blender or with a handblender to break up strands of persimmon, then whisk with the acorn flour and spices.
- Heat the persimmon mixture until steaming and the acorn flour has thickened, stir in the fruit mixture and breadcrumbs, cover, and allow to cool. Beat the eggs until doubled in volume, then gradually beat in the persimmon-acorn-fruit mix and finally the oil.
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- LIBERALLY grease an 8 inch bowl and dust with breadcrumbs and a pinch of sugar. Spoon in the batter. Bake for exactly one hour, then unmold onto a cooling rack hot. Slice while it’s still barely warm to allow it to set a bit. It’s excellent reheated.