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This fall favorite uses a different orange fruit

Recipe: Old-fashioned persimmon pudding with pecans

Bake a homey persimmon pudding for a fall dessert.

Bake a homey persimmon pudding for a fall dessert.

Debbie Arrington

Fall is not only pumpkin season – it’s persimmon season. And right now, ripe flat Fuyus and pointy Hachiyas are showing up in farmers markets – and falling off backyard trees.

Like an apple, Fuyus can be eaten when still crisp, although they also are good for baking when super soft. But the astringent tannin in crisp Hachiyas will make your mouth pucker; this variety can only be eaten when fully ripe. How ripe? The fruit feels like a balloon full of jelly and the pulp can be scooped out with a spoon.

Two persimmons and a measuring cup of pulp
Fuyu persimmons can be eaten crisp or soft.

Both Fuyu and Hachiya are among several Japanese persimmon varieties that are right at home in Sacramento. Japanese varieties grow very well in our mild climate and make an attractive edible ornamental in home landscapes.

This recipe is an adaptation of an old-fashioned Southern holiday pudding that used American native persimmons (Diospyros virginiana). Like the Hachiya, the American persimmon is packed with pucker power until it reaches that super-soft stage.

The word “persimmon” actually is derived from the Algonquin name for this fruit. It grows wild from Connecticut to Florida and west to Texas and Oklahoma. Although naturally shrubby in poor soils with limited water, mature American persimmon trees can reach 100 feet tall in rich soil with good irrigation. (And when they drop their super-ripe fruit, they can make one heck of a sticky mess.)

Old-fashioned persimmon pudding

Makes 6 to 8 servings


4 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

¾ cup milk

1-1/4 cups persimmon pulp

½ cup pecans, chopped

Confectioner’s sugar

Butter to grease baking dish


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Stir flour mixture into butter-sugar mixture, alternating with milk.

Push persimmon pulp through a sieve to remove fibrous pieces. Fold persimmon into batter. Add pecans.

Grease an 8- to 9-inch baking dish. Pour batter into the dish. Dust top with confectioner’s sugar.

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven. Let cool.

Serve with more confectioner’s sugar or whipped cream, if desired.


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A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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