Persimmon trees here in north Missouri are not loaded with fruit by any means, but the soft native fruits are falling and we are gathering them just as quickly due to their delicate nature. Many people have never eaten persimmon fruit and i think i know why. It’s a lot of work – not hard, just time-consuming – to process them.
The golf ball sized soft fruits contain 4-7 seeds, which comprises half the weight and volume of the fruit. Add in that the seeds are slimy and difficult to remove and the effort hardly seems worth it. But their taste is so smooth and naturally sweet that they don’t need making them into sauce or jam – the spread is just that tasty. No sugar added.
Bill Smith’s Persimmon Pudding (8-10 servings)
- ½ cup softened unsalted butter
- 3 cups persimmons
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1½ cups flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Whipped cream, optional
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8 ½” diameter by 2” deep cake pans with butter. Use a food mill, sieve, cone strainer, or by hand remove the seeds from the persimmons and puree the pulp; it will reduce them from 3 cups to 2 cups. Combine the puree with the buttermilk. Beat the remaining butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment until fluffy. Add the eggs one by one. By hand, in a large mixing bowl, stir the persimmons into the butter.
Sift all the dry ingredients together and fold them into the persimmon mixture. Pour the batter into the baking pans and place the pans in a larger pan filled halfway up with warm water. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour or until the pudding is firm at the center, has pulled away from the sides of its pan, and a paring knife inserted into the center of the pudding comes out clean.
Serve hot with fresh whipped cream. This keeps well in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days and reheats beautifully in the oven.