Persimmon pudding is less of a pudding and more of a moist cake cooked in the traditional British style of classic steamed puddings or baked in a water bath (bain marie). This easy method makes the cake so dewy that it’s really a cross between a cake and pudding. The recipe for this persimmon dessert is perfect for the holidays too, with a fragrant cinnamon spice.
What is persimmon pudding?
Persimmon pudding recipes are legendary in Indiana, but the unusual fruit is less familiar in other regions and consequently, often overlooked, as home cooks aren’t certain how to use them. I admit — I was one of them.
However, when I found fuyu persimmons at my local market and gawked at their gorgeous harvest color and ruddy sage-green stems, I was intrigued. I ended up buying a few pounds to take home and see what I could make with them.
Loving the soft, silky texture, light, sweet tanginess and feint cinnamon spice of my fuyu persimmons, I started with a simple persimmon salad recipe and quickly looked for other ways to prepare this unusual late harvest fruit.
This persimmon pudding recipe was the first thing I thought of, because I’d seen it mentioned in one of my favorite cookbooks (The Jimtown Cookbook) and had never gotten around to trying it… until now.
Ingredients you’ll need for persimmon pudding recipe
- All Purpose Flour
- Baking Soda
- Golden Raisins
- Grated Carrots
- Lemon Zest
How to make persimmon pudding
- Peel and puree the persimmons in a food processor to form a pulp.
- Toast the walnuts in the oven until crunchy and fragrant.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and add the toasted nuts and raisins.
- Beat the egg (3-4 minutes) until very light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the sugar.
- Stir in the persimmon pulp, grated carrots, lemon zest and melted butter to the egg mixture until combined.
- Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, followed by the buttermilk and stir to combine.
- Transfer to a prepared baking dish or mold.
- Place the baking dish into a larger cake pan or other baking dish with high sides and fill with hot water.
- Bake the persimmon pudding in the bain marie (water bath) until set, about an hour or a little longer.
What to cook a steamed pudding in
This was probably the biggest struggle I had with making the persimmon pudding recipe… Figuring out what to cook it in.
I went through every one of my props and my kitchen cabinets looking for a one quart mold that would give me the “look” I was going for (as I don’t have any of my grandmother’s fancy molds) and finally spotted this decorative fluted one quart Pyrex bowl. Perfect for my persimmon pudding.
- If you have a one quart copper or tin mold (like the ones your grandmother used for her jell-o salads) I would use that.
- Yes, you can use a simple round or square cake tin, but to me, a steamed pudding should have some flair. A presence. That said, don’t let the lack of a “proper” mold dissuade you from making this ultra moist, holiday steamed pudding.
- If using an intricate or detailed mold, be sure to butter the inside very well so the pudding doesn’t stick.
- You don’t need to cover the persimmon pudding when steaming.
- If the mold is made of glass, it will probably take a little longer to steam. (I should have added 10 minutes for my persimmon pudding, but it was still utterly delicious).
- If the mold is shallower and wider or if it is a ring mold (with a hole in the middle), it may take less time to steam.
Bottom line: Adjust the cooking time for your persimmon pudding based on the pudding mold or cake pan that you’re using.
Cooling and unmolding persimmon pudding
When the cake is cooked, carefully remove it from the water bath and set the mold on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes to settle before inverting the pudding onto a serving platter. I recommend using a platter with a slight lip in case any syrupy persimmon pudding juices leak.
This pudding should be served warm and can be enjoyed with a bit of whipped cream, lemon sauce (recipe given — though I didn’t make it) or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
What does persimmon pudding taste like?
This soft, plush dessert is really a cross between a spice cake and a soft bread pudding. The aroma and flavors are reminiscent of the holidays with a hint of cinnamon spice. The sweet pops of raisins get plumped in the pudding batter and crunchy nuts adds texture and crunch.
We enjoyed our persimmon pudding served in footed dessert bowls (fancy-like) with a bit of whipped cream. It’s a festive, beautiful holiday dessert with a classic, old fashioned, homey feel.
I love this recipe because it feels like a special occasion dessert, but this steamed pudding is really simple to make and takes no special decorating skills. My kind of treat!
Persimmon pudding FAQ’s
Yes. Be sure to use a 2-quart mold or two 1-quart molds for the pudding.
Yes. In fact, we had leftovers (there’s only 2 of us in the house). To reheat, I recommend serving the persimmon pudding in microwaveable bowls and nuking them in 20-30 second increments until the pudding is warm, but not enough to start it cooking, again. Serve this warm persimmon dessert with ice cream, whipped cream or the lemon cream recipe (included in the recipe card).
I think you probably could (though I haven’t tried it). Look for a fruit that will process down to a smooth, creamy puree in the food processor. I think mangos or bananas would work well for this, but you could probably also use peaches, nectarines or even applesauce.
More holiday desserts and puddings you might like:
- Pumpkin Custard Brûlée
- Luscious Chocolate Amaretto Mousse
- Bittersweet Kahlua Pots De Creme
- Authentic Italian Ricotta Pie
- Raspberry Tiramisu
- Apple Frangipane Tart
- Death By Chocolate Fudge Tart
- 1 quart baking pan or mold
- larger baking pan with high sides that will fit the pudding mold inside of it.
FOR PERSIMMON PUDDING:
- 4 ripe persimmons
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon iodized salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup finely grated carrot
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- zest of half a lemon
- 6 tablespoons buttermilk
FOR LEMON SAUCE (optional):
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoons cornstarch
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
BUTTER THE MOLD:
- Add a teaspoon of butter to the baking dish you're using for the persimmon pudding and use a paper towel to rub the butter over all the surfaces inside the mold. If it's a particularly intricate mold, take care to butter it well. Set aside.
- Cut away the stems from the persimmon and peel the skin with a vegetable peeler. Cut the persimmon into chunks and add them to a mini food processor. Pulse several times until the persimmon has been well pureed. Set aside.
TOAST THE WALNUTS:
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until browned and fragrant. Roughly chop the nuts and set aside.
- Turn the oven temperature down to 325° F.
ASSEMBLE THE PUDDING:
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Whisk to blend.
- Add the chopped walnuts and raisins and mix well. Set aside.
- Use a hand mixer to beat the egg on high for 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Gradually add in the sugar and continue to beat together until the mixture is thick, creamy and very well blended.
- Stir in the persimmon pulp, grated carrot, melted butter and lemon zest. Stir well to combine. Add the buttermilk and stir to blend.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
BAKE THE PERSIMMON PUDDING:
- Pour the batter into the mold and set the dish inside a larger baking pan. Add very hot tap water to the pan so that it comes about halfway up the sides of the pudding.
- Transfer to the oven and bake for one hour. (If you're using a glass bowl (like Pyrex) add an additional 10-15 minutes to the baking time.
- After baking remove the pudding from the water bath and cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack.
FOR OPTIONAL LEMON CREAM:
- In a small non-reactive pan, whisk the sugar cornstarch and salt to blend and gradually add the water and lemon juice while continuing to whisk.
- Heat over medium heat and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and becomes clear, about 3-5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest. Lemon cream can be served warm or at at room temperature and can be stored for up to one week in the refrigerator.
TO SERVE PERSIMMON PUDDING:
- Place a plate or cake stand (preferably one with a slight lip) over the pudding. Invert the pudding dish onto the plate. Serve warm with ice cream, whipped cream or lemon cream.