Recipe: Old-fashioned persimmon pudding with pecans
Bake a homey persimmon pudding for a fall dessert. This one includes pecans, too.
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.
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 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
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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For week of Dec. 3:
Make the most of gaps between raindrops. This is a busy month!
* Windy conditions brought down a lot of leaves. Make sure to rake them away from storm drains.
* Use those leaves as mulch around frost-tender shrubs and new transplants.
* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.
* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.
* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they're dormant.
* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.
* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.
* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.
* Plant one last round of spring bulbs including daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas. Get those tulips out of the refrigerator and into the ground.
* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers such as California poppies.
* Plant such spring bloomers as sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.
* Late fall is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from fall and winter rains.
* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.
* Plant garlic and onions.
* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.
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