I have 250 feet of fence line at the back of my yard. Along that fence there are about 15 Persimmon trees. They are what lots of folks would describe as “junk trees.” That is, not stunners and fairly messy. They also attract loads of nightlife: racoons, possums and the like hang out to gobble the ripe fruit every fall.
If you haven’t ever worked with persimmons, they are small orange (when ripe) fruits that are similar in flavor to an apricot, but subtle. The skins of are VERY tannic. It isn’t ever a good idea to pop one in your mouth unless you are into an incredibly bitter bite. They also contain several “pits.” You might wonder why one would even bother with such a fruit?
Here’s the deal. The trees are prolific and it is easy to collect the fallen fruit from the ground. Once you run them through a food mill, you are left with a sticky sweet pulp. I’m not gonna lie, preparing the fruit takes some effort but in my case, with so many trees, I can’t justify buying the pulp already processed. If you don’t have trees pick up a container or two at Lily Orchard (Indy). Lots of places sell it, but Lily has always been my go-to and they usually have it. With the pulp and a few other ingredients, you’ll have yourself a lovely, traditional Hoosier dessert. It is rich and sweet, with a texture falling somewhere between cake and brownies. Perfect for a chilly fall evening and certainly Thanksgiving dinner.
1 cup of persimmon pulp
¾ cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cardamom
1 cup milk
¼ pound melted butter (unsalted)
-Combine persimmon pulp, sugar and molasses.
-Beat in eggs, milk and butter.
-In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom.
-Mix the dry ingredients into the persimmon mixture.
-Grease a 9-inch square pan very well (or line with parchment paper) and pour batter into prepared pan.
-Bake at 325 for about an hour. (A knife or toothpick will come out clean when ready).
-Cool, cut into squares and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Pro Tip: My sweet friend Jill Cline makes Persimmon Pudding every year during the holidays. She ALWAYS forgets to buy persimmon pulp in advance and it often sells out. Then she scrambles to find it. Don’t be like Jill, buy it now and freeze it!
Give Persimmon Pudding a try and see if it can become a tradition for your family.
#persimmonpudding #HoosierHospitality @1Malibu
Elizabeth Morse cooks professionally, is an Advanced Master Gardener and lover of all things local.