My sister remembered this story from her childhood and e-mailed it to me.
“I had a job after school helping an elderly man with his errands. I would take his laundry to the cleaners on the corner. I bought him the evening paper and sometimes I would pick up two slices of pizza for his dinner and in return he would always give me a dime or a quarter. He once asked me what was the one thing I really wanted. I told him I wanted a bicycle like the other kids on my block but explained that my parents said it was too expensive. One day I came home and there in the hallway was the most beautiful blue Schwinn bicycle I ever saw. I have never forgotten how generous and kind that wonderful old man was.”
My husband has a friend from synagogue, Marizon. Over the past few years she has made him numerous Steamed Persimmon Puddings. Sometimes she brings them to Shul, sometimes she delivers them to our house, but either way we are always surprised and delighted. That kind of giving makes everyone happy so if you do make this recipe just remember to double it so you can share. It will taste even better that way.
Marizon’s Steamed Persimmon Pudding
1 1/ 2 cups pureed persimmons ( 4 – 5 Fuyu persimmons, skins and pit removed , or you can use 2-3 ripe Hachiya persimmons)
2 Tsp. Baking soda
1 stick butter or pareve margarine at room temperature
1 1/2 Cups sugar
1 Tb lemon juice
2 Tb Rum
1 Cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon (Optional - enhance with a bit of allspice and a whisper of ground clove) I only use Cinnamon
½ tsp. Salt
1 Cup broken walnuts or pecans
1 Cup raisins (may use golden or black or mix of both)
Find a pot that is large enough to hold a 2 Quart pudding mold. Fill the pot with enough water to reach halfway up the sides of the mold as it rests on a metal rack in the bottom of the pot. The mold must have a lid. Let the water come to a boil while you mix the pudding batter.
(Pudding mold is available at William Sonoma or Sur La Table).
Grease the mold well. Butter is best, though cooking spray is faster. Use pareve margarine if making a non-dairy pudding.
Put the persimmon purée in a bowl and stir in the baking soda. Set aside (the persimmon mixture will stiffen and lighten in color – it really is a rather odd fact of chemistry)
Using a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, lemon juice, and rum and beat well. Set the mixer to its slowest speed and add the flour, cinnamon, and salt. When well blended, add the persimmon mixture and beat until well mixed. Remove bowl from mixer and stir in raisins and nuts.
Spoon the batter into the mold, cover, and steam for at least two hours (it’s nearly impossible to over-steam!). Remove from the pot, and let rest for 10 – 20 minutes.
Use a long, narrow skewer to help remove the pudding from the sides of the mold, and then turn out onto the serving plate. Some parts may stick to the bottom of the mold – just remove them and patch back together (the pudding is very moist).
I usually turn the mold over and the pudding just falls onto the serving plate.
The traditional service for this dish is with a sprig of holly stuck into the top, then flamed with more of the rum. To flame your rum, pour a generous ounce into a sauce pot, and THEN put the pot over medium heat. Swirl the rum to warm it for thirty seconds or so, then carefully light it and immediately pour the flaming rum over the pudding. It may be difficult to see the flame in strong light, so dim the lights for the 20 seconds or so before the alcohol burns off.
Serve warm with unsweetened whipped cream, or a crème anglaise.