The persimmon, also known as Sharon fruit or kaki, truly is the fruit of the gods. They come in many different varieties, but always look somewhat like a tomato. They have a high level of sugar and can have an alum-like taste. In other words, fruit is astringent (it makes your mouth pucker).
Persimmon pudding is an American dessert which is traditionally made in Indiana. It is an English-style pudding, meaning it has a dense texture, similar to Christmas pudding.
Over the last few years, I have perfected my recipe.
Begin with some over-ripened persimmons. These ugly fruit look like they should be thrown out, but they are packed full of sugary goodness. In this state, they are quite easily peeled by hand.
Remove the leaves and the skin and collect approximately 1 cup of the sweet pulp.
In a blender, mix together the pulp with 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and one large egg. After a few pulses, your mixture should look like the picture below:
Now add 2 cups of milk and blend it for another minute.
In a bowl, prepare your dry ingredients; 2 cups of all-purpose flour mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.
Combine your dry ingredients with the pulp mixture by alternating between the two, so that there are no lumps created. For this part, I find it using a whisk or egg beater useful. The combined batter should look like this:
Pour the mixture into a greased baking mold. (With this amount of batter, I was able to fill three 2-cup molds.)
Bake the mold on a tray and in an oven, preheated to 350° F, for approximately one hour. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of your molds and your individual oven. Your finished product should look like the one below:
Note that the pudding will deflate quite rapidly after being removed from the oven. Allow your persimmon pudding to cool before flipping it out of the mold.
Enjoy your persimmon pudding warm or cold. Serve by itself or with either a sprinkling of icing sugar or a topping of freshly-whipped cream.